Award: Action / $3,000
Purpose: To support the curation of 3-4 traveling trunks that feature hands-on exploration of historical topics relating to the Borough’s history.
According to Andrea Elson, Haddonfield Public Library is always looking for creative and engaging ways to utilize its collections with the public.
“Our Borough is rich with history and traditions, and we wanted to find ways to broaden those stories and experiences,” she said.
With the help of a $3,000 Action Grant from NJCH, the library will now be able bring those stories to residents throughout its service area using traveling trunks that offer hands-on exploration of historical topics relating to the borough.
The library plans to curate three trunks, featuring the themes of Black Haddonfield History, Notable Women in Haddonfield and Native Americans in Haddonfield.
“By creating and circulating Historical Traveling Trunks, the Library is able to highlight people and places that haven’t always been included in ‘traditional histories,’” Elson said.
The project has roots in NJCH’s Community History Program, of which the library was a participant in the 2023 cohort.
Inspired by the accidental discovery of eighteenth-century documents in a basement vault, the library sought ways to create better access to their existing historical collections and resources. Through the Community History Program, the library learned valuable lessons in how to preserve and bring to life the community’s own stories.
“The Community History program really helped us focus on the role the library plays in maintaining and sharing stories. While we have traditional circulating materials on our shelves, we are also a community gathering space and play a central role for civic organizations in sharing their stories and messages,” Elson said.
“The Community History program helped us target and identify better ways to reach our community and help promote their stories.”