Over a period of two days, casual strollers on the OLS campus may have noticed lights in Ark’s upper windows during the night, or heard a song or two drift out of the window as artifacts and documents were brought before the lens and shot in multiple positions to ensure no detail was hidden from the photographer’s eye. Among the newly documented items, you would find the official letter box of Marshal Josef Pilsudski, the personal papers of Poles secretly serving in the Home army under the German occupation, and even a Polish bar of soap from 1939. After many hours, those volunteers broke ground in the most ambitious project our museums have ever seen.
Combined with ongoing historic document and photograph scanning, the total digital image archive of our museums stands at over 2,500, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The scope of this project is massive; our collection of artifacts is staggering, and the old organization system is precarious. Carefully digitizing our collections is the first step in bringing our museums into the 21st century. Using our newly acquired cutting-edge museum software PastPerfect, each artifact and historic document we hold can be identified, translated, described in detail, and published online to aid historians across the globe. In addition to this immeasurable contribution to historic scholarship, having a definitive record of our holdings will allow us to create new and exciting historic exhibits, and also to identify select artifacts for conservation and archival storage. The collections of the Polish Mission’s museums make up an objectively priceless treasure to Polonia, and we’ll keep the Good News updated as we continue to safeguard that treasure, and proudly bring it to a 21st-century audience.