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Grant number: PY-234326-16

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PY-234326-16

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, Inc. (New Bedford, MA 02741-2052)
Laura Orleans (Project Director: 06/24/2015 to present)

Salted, Pickled, or Smoked: Preserving and Presenting the Cultural Heritage of New Bedford’s Fishing Community

A day-long digitization event and subsequent follow-up to preserve cultural heritage materials held by members of the New Bedford area fishing community, and attendant public programming. The applicant would partner with the University of Massachusetts, Boston, which has run the “Mass Memories Road Show.” University staff would provide support during the digitization day and would also train volunteers. Images would be stored in the University’s digital collections, as well as at New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, the Digital Commonwealth, and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Items anticipated for scanning include photographs, documents, and artifacts. Public programming would have three themes: sustaining community, life on shore, and life at sea. Programs would include presentations by members of the fishing community before the digitization day event at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center; a workshop by New Bedford Public Library staff on proper archival storage on the day of the event; and an exhibit of digitized materials after the event.

The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center proposes to digitize the cultural heritage of the local fishing community. Commercial fishing is often a family activity with skills and knowledge passed from one generation to the next. Consequently, much of this history resides in the photo albums, documents, and artifacts of fishing families. This project will digitize these materials through a day-long public event in combination with “house calls” to digitally document materials from individuals who are unable to attend the event. The project will be bookended by a variety of public programs which will serve to inspire community participation, evoke memories, and provide an interpretive framework for materials that are brought forward. Digitizing these materials, making them publicly available, and using them to tell the story of the fishing community will create a lasting legacy for families who have spent generations working the water in what is one of the nation’s oldest occupations.

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Folklore and Folklife; Labor History

Program:
Common Heritage

Division:
Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$12,000 (approved)
$12,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2016 – 2/28/2017