Today we had our second planning meeting and CAM Curator Martha Oaks encouraged me to come up with some language to describe what we are up to. Here is a draft:
Dating back to the first half of the seventeenth century, the Cape Ann archives include documentation from some of the first English settlers in what would become the United States, as well as records of the establishment of colonial life in the area. These archives are housed in City Hall, the Cape Ann Museum, the Sawyer Free Library, and at town historical societies. They contain rich depictions of the the political and social structures of our nation before its founding and through its early years, as well as windows into the cultural life of a place that would become a haven for artists and writers. Genealogists have recognized the importance of these records for decades, but historians have made less use of them. This exhibition aims to make their presence known to a wider scholarly and popular audience, to both residents of Cape Ann who are proud of their history, and to the professional and amateur historian who, if they knew they were here, would surely be delighted to listen to the stories these archives might tell. This exhibition, aims to ensure preservation of and appreciation for these amazing collections through increased access, both to the actual objects and to their digital manifestations.