Marsh Historical Collection settles in at new Richmond St. location

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After 23 years at its original location, the Marsh Historical Collection has moved and they are enjoying their new digs.

The Marsh Historical Collection is now located in the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St., around the corner from their former location at 235 Dalhousie St. It is a move that staff is glad is over, but happy that has occurred.

Research assistant Phyllis Chant said that 250 totes plus other archives and furniture were moved by Glen’s Moving and Storage and brought to the new location several weeks ago. Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner said the public area is set up largely like it was at the former location, with a reference library and a small gift shop.

“We’ve got microfilm ready for people to check out the Echo,” said Reiner, noting they have copies of The Amherstburg Echo from when it opened in 1874 to when it was closed by Sun Media in 2012.

The Marsh Historical Collection has moved into the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St. where Phyllis Chant (left) and Meg Reiner are among the staff ready to assist.

The Marsh Historical Collection has moved into the Heritage Square plaza at 80 Richmond St. where Phyllis Chant (left) and Meg Reiner are among the staff ready to assist.

There is a separate room, not open to the general public, where they can store their archives.

“We like it back here because we can control the temperature and humidity,” said Reiner, noting they try to keep it no higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the archives room. “It slows down the deterioration.”

The archives also house land deeds from Amherstburg as well as the former Anderdon and Malden townships.

“Those go back to Crown patents,” said Reiner, adding they range in age from the 1850s to the 1950s.

Large collections of documents, photographs, artifacts and family archives are also housed in the archives. The new location also has a separate workspace to work with the archives.

Reiner said more people have been attending the Marsh Historical Collection since the move, which was completed in mid-June. Genealogy is a one of the main reasons people come to the Marsh Historical Collection, she said, with property research being another.

“Educational groups come in,” added Chant, noting such groups pick a theme and research it.

The collection is being digitized using the program “PastPerfect” but Reiner points out it is not online just yet. She hopes the public will be able to access their collection online within a year.

The move went faster than anticipated, Reiner added.

“We’ll see how it works for us,” said Reiner. “CDP hooked up our computers. They were very helpful.”

Chant stated the Marsh Historical Collection is now more accessible to the public and the new location has given them more exposure to local residents, some of which didn’t know they existed.

Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner looks through newspaper archives housed at the Marsh Collection.

Collections co-ordinator Meg Reiner looks through newspaper archives housed at the Marsh Historical Collection.

According to Eleanor Warren, the local historian who helped launch the Marsh Historical Collection, she became friends with John Marsh through her employment at Fort Malden National Historic Site. Marsh owned the Echo at the time with sister Helen and amassed a large collection of materials pertaining to local history.

Warren said this led to the creation of the Marsh Collection Society in 1983, a registered non-profit organization with a board of directors and her as administrator.

The original Marsh Historical Collection location opened on Dalhousie St. in 1994, eight years after Helen Marsh died and one year after John died. It doubled in size three years later at that location.

Warren noted their microfilm holdings also include census records for Essex County, assessment rolls, land instruments and local newspapers such as The Amherstburg Echo and River Town Times. They also have published several books and put out a quarterly newsletter.

The Marsh Historical Collection is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.marshcollection.org, e-mail research@marshcollection.org or call 519-736-9191. They can also be found on Facebook by searching “Marsh Historical Collection.”

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