Archived Story

Virtual volunteering a hit at museum [UPDATED]

Published 10:40am Thursday, December 13, 2012 Updated 10:58am Thursday, December 13, 2012

An important part of curating a museum is keeping records on what is contained in its collection. Plat maps and cemetery records are some of the artifacts that The Otter Tail County Historical Society digitizes and offers on-line to the public.

“If you go on-line right now, you’ll see 171,770 entries in our database,” said Kathy Evavold, Curator of Collections. “There is an on-going need to enter information into our database, and that is where the idea of virtual volunteering came from.”

The Historical Society applied for and received a Legacy grant from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Program in the amount of $7,000.

The grant allowed the Historical Society to hire a database developer to create a robust database to track volunteers and their assignments and make publicly available the work that they complete through an online search engine.

“Between March 2012 and today, 57,371 entries have been made by virtual volunteers,” said Evavold. Most volunteers are working remotely. There is one person working in-house entering data from plat maps.”

While the museum is making in-roads, there is much more work to do. Interested virtual volunteers, or volunteers to help with other roles in the museum can fill out a Volunteer Application at the Otter Tail County Historical Society in Fergus Falls, or call 218-736-6038 for more information.

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