Special to the Index
Members from the Palo Pinto County Historical Association, Friends of the Boyce Ditto Public Library and the Mineral Wells Heritage Association gathered on Thursday to collect material bound for the University of North Texas in Denton, thanks to funding from the Rescuing Texas History Grant, a program offered by UNT’s Portal to Texas History.
In a cooperative effort, the three organizations completed their grant applications together, but applied separately to receive maximum funding for the digitization of at-risk newspapers, photos and other historic materials.
Once digitized, the individual holdings may be viewed by the public on the Portal to Texas History, at texashistory.unt.edu. This website is dedicated to the preservation of Texas history by means of computer digitization.
Troy Stone, president of MWHA and a volunteer and advisory board chair for the Boyce Ditto Public Library, personally delivered all material to UNT.
Stone has experience with the Portal, since he works with the library’s collections that are already online.
Cindy Lewis, president of the PPCHA, spearheaded gathering old newspapers and photographs from the Old Jail Museum Complex, for the association’s first step in having an institutional presence on UNT’s Portal.
Janice Ellis, treasurer of the Friends of the Boyce Ditto Public Library and volunteer on the historic projects at the library, has acted as liaison with UNT for the PPCHA. Working in concert with Stone, she continues to help these and future organizations get started with their digitization projects.
Once the collections are on the Portal volunteers will be trained to provide documentation by means of direct access to the Portal.
The Boyce Ditto Public Library receives county funding and provides this service not only to residents of Mineral Wells but also residents of Palo Pinto County as well. “This is a very good example of how the library services the entire county and its residents,” said Stone. “The board is very pleased with this level of cooperation between our county organizations. It is our way of showing how committed we are to bringing county resources together on critical issues like protection and preservation of the history of our great county.
“There is no reason for these organizations to go it alone on their preservation projects when help is right around the corner – or county, I should say,” he added.
The Palo Pinto County Historical Association is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that operates the Old Jail Museum Complex, located at 5th and Elm in Palo Pinto. It is open from the first weekend in March until the second weekend of December, every Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Mineral Wells Heritage Association, also a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, operates the Rock School Museum, located at 105 N.W. 5th Ave. in Mineral Wells. Its monthly meetings are on the second Thursday of every month and include a program, usually about the history of the community, by one of its members or a special speaker. The museum is also open during special events, like the Crazy Water Festival, and for private tours.
The Friends of the Boyce Ditto Public Library, additionally, is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that operates in conjunction with the Boyce Ditto Public Library and accepts donations on the library’s behalf, holds book sales, raffles and functions as an essential part of library operations. The Friends hold monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at the library.
Members of each of these organizations are all volunteers and dedicate parts of their lives for the betterment of the community.
Residents of the county may join any of these organizations to make a substantial contribution to the preservation of our local history. Volunteers often work in teams on interesting and vital projects, meet new people who share interests in preservation and, at the same time, make a substantial contribution to their community.