DOBSON — If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Surry County Historical Society would like a few thousand words from those in the community.
The group is seeking to expand its collection of historic Surry County photos to preserve them for future generations, said Dr. Annette Ayers of Surry Community College.
“Through a sense of pride in our families, communities, churches and organizations, we are striving to preserve our local history through (the) digital documentation of photographs before 1950,” Ayers said.
Ayers said both the historical society and Surry Community College recognize the importance of the preservation and identification of privately-owned photos including architectural photographs of buildings, bridges, houses, barns and industrial buildings, as well as community landscapes and landmarks.
And she said the long-standing tradition of documenting family gatherings, school events and church celebrations can yield photos that may be priceless.
“Photographs have preserved lifestyles that are changing, or have disappeared entirely, such as photos of stringing tobacco and other farm work, textiles and the furniture industry,” Ayers said. “As many of our architectural structures disappear, fragile photographs are all that remain.”
But anyone who has old photos knows that they fade over time. Using today’s technology, those photos can be preserved in a digital format.
“With the advancement of technology, tools are currently available to scan and preserve these treasured photographs for use as educational resources,” Ayers said. “We recognize that much of our local history is recorded in family photograph collections, and we are inviting the community to share these photographs with the Surry County Historical Society and other community members.”
The historical society is working with the community college, which has recently established an Archives Collection, to hold two documentation days — on July 28 and Aug. 11 — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library of the community college.
“Participants are invited to bring up to 20 photographs per person to be scanned into the historical society collection,” Ayers said.
To participate, those donating photos to be scanned must agree to turn over the copyright for the pictures to the historical society to allow them to be accessed online through the group’s website.
The photographs will be scanned and immediately returned to their owners, who may purchase a digital version of the photographs on CD for $20.
“We want to make sure that everyone understands that we’re not going to be keeping their photos,” Ayers said. “They will leave with the photos they bring to us, but we do need to have the copyright in order to put them on the website.”
Appointments, in 30-minute increments, are available by contacting Ayers at 325-2161. Walk-ins are welcome.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.