Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn A Modern Vision for an Historic Cemetery | Page 10

Family Digitization Days By Jenny Gilbert, Director of Institutional Advancement Last fall, with a $10,0 0 0 Common He ritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PY-253094-17), the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery partnered with the New England Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), the Cambridge Public Library, and the Watertown Free Library, to host two digitization days that were open to the public free of charge. During the days, members of the public brought in a range of paper-based archival cultural heritage materials, such as photographs and letters, for digital preservation. People who were interested could also sit in on presentations given by the NEDCC about current digital preservation techniques that they can use at home. The Cemetery is now offering digitization services on the first Friday of every month, at which time members of the public can have their family materials digitized. The materials can then be easily shared and can help tell the stories of departed ancestors and loved ones through the Cemetery’s new online memorial pages. “Looking at the photographs and hearing the memories at the ‘Digitization Days’ related to these documents reinforced the importance of preserving family histories for individual and public knowledge,” said Kara Zelasko, Public History student at Northeastern University who assisted with Mount Auburn’s Digitization Days this past October. Her Northeastern classmate and fellow former Mount Auburn Cemetery intern Brittany Costello agreed, “For the families, it is a way to connect to their past and preserve memories for future generations. Providing the public with access to these stories creates a sense of community and makes history more personal.” At our first Family Digitization Day, Rayna Tulysewski stopped by with her great Aunt Mrs. Lombard’s permission ticket to walk through the Cemetery on Sundays and Holidays (Mrs. Lombard’s photo was attached to the ticket, which dates back to 1877). 8 | Sweet Auburn