History Harvests

MARA Blog

Published: February 24, 2016 by Anna Maloney

A few weeks ago, the University of Louisville and the Kentucky LGBT Heritage Initiative in Louisville, Kentucky hosted a history harvest. The goal of the event was to collect stories, photographs, newsletters, and other documents related to the LGBT community in Kentucky. The January 31st event was the third of its kind hosted for the KY LGBT Heritage Initiative, but it was not the first such event held nationally. Since 2010, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has organized and operated a history harvest aimed at “utilizing digital technologies to share the experiences and artifacts of everyday people and local history institutions.” The initiative has evolved into core collections, community donated collections, exhibits, and multimedia resources, powered by the open-source platform Omeka. In 2013, Mike Kastellec examined the challenges faced by community archiving organizations and projects in his paper Practical limits to the scope of digital preservation, identifying them as technology, access, selection, and finances. Despite these obstacles, which may arguably be faced by many archival and heritage institutions, it is encouraging that communities are coming together to document their history. With the history harvests and other projects, the KY LGBT Heritage Initiative hopes to make Kentucky the second designated LGBT-Heritage state in the country.