Oct 292012

An open house of Holbrook’s museum in the historical county courthouse is planned by the Navajo County Historical Society from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. The event will also feature a book signing by author Jo Baeza of her new book, Arizona: The Making of a State.
“We want to take an opportunity to invite community members to visit their museum, as well as to focus on Jo’s new book and provide the public an opportunity to meet her,” noted NCHS Interim Director JoLynn Fox.
“Her masterpiece brings Arizona’s roots and the territorial past to life in a clear and comprehensive ac-count. It is not a ‘dry’ history book, but is like being right on the site of each historical event, including ac-counts that take place in our own neighborhood by people we know about or, in some instances, who are direct ancestors of today’s families,” added Fox.
The NCHS Museum is a valuable resource of information, photos and other collections. The interim director noted that NCHS often shares photos from its archives with various authors, as it did with Baeza.
“We are the caretakers of history, and sharing our resources helps spread historical knowledge while providing factual historic information, and giving credit to NCHS as the source,” Fox explained.
When a photo in the NCHS archives is from a verified source such as a family, then it is credited to the family’s collection, courtesy of NCHS.
Fox said NCHS is charged with preserving its collections, and presenting them in displays and exhibits.
“We have also been working to establish guidelines for research materials to be available to the public. We are unable to just open the door and invite anyone to go through materials, because, unfortunately, there is that one person who will tear out a book page or otherwise cause damage to items. For this reason we have set requirements for researchers while being as helpful as possible,” she said.
NCHS has a nearly complete set of area obituary clippings, which are being indexed for easy location of a name. Research books have been cataloged by genre and are available for use. Many of the printed materials can be scanned for a customer’s flash drive or copies of documents may be printed. A nominal fee is re-quested to help offset the expense and donations are always welcome.
Many objects that were in storage are now being placed in exhibits, and several new exhibit areas have been established to meet the need for more display room.
In addition, the Route 66 Auditorium in the annex has been repainted, and an exterior door and handicapped ramp have been added. This additional entrance to the room will allow the space to be available for use by community groups for small meetings. Persons interested in utilizing the space will be required to complete an agreement form and book a specific date on the calendar, then a key will be issued for that date as outlined in the agreement, which also contains all regulations for use. A security deposit may be required as well.
“Volunteers put in more than 190 hours of labor on the auditorium, with funding from donations, a grant and earmarked dollars for the project,” said the interim director.
NCHS is a non-profit organization that operates and maintains the free museum as well as the NCHS archives. Partners include Navajo County and the City of Holbrook, with the city providing a monthly allocation for NCHS to staff the official visitor’s center desk and a one day a week paid position in the office. The county and the city share the cost of taking care of the courthouse grounds, mechanical systems and major repairs of the facilities.
Through memberships, donations and book sales, NCHS is able to obtain archival and office supplies, improve exhibits and make small improvements to facilities.
Volunteers, their dedication and donation of time account for the majority of the recent improvements and archive operational cost, In 2011, a total of more than 2,900 hours were given to NCHS, adding up to $22,000 at minimum wage. The efforts of these volunteers are highly prized.
“While we are the caretakers, it is the support from many different resources that make the difference. Support can come in many different forms, as well. You can be actively involved as a volunteer, whether it is helping with inventory, maintenance projects or cleaning and dusting; you can be a paid member of NCHS or contribute money; you can donate significant historical items or collections; or you can visit the museum,” said Fox.
“When we can host an outstanding author who is also a caretaker of history, we are pleased to plan an event like an open house and book signing. The public is invited to stop by on Saturday, Nov. 3, and say hello to Jo and visit their museum, one of the community’s assets.”
The visitor’s center and museum are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and closed on holidays.