Civil War sesquicentennial project receives grant for second year

July 5, 2011

A new grant for nearly $19,000 has been awarded to the Wabash Valley Civil War Sesquicentennial Project in efforts to preserve local history related to the historic conflict.

In addition to photographs, letters and artifacts, more than 500 pages of Civil War records will be digitized and available to the public upon completion. Partners in the project, based at Indiana State University's Cunningham Memorial Library, will preserve the materials through a searchable online database.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the sponsor for the Library Service Technology Act (LSTA) Digitization Grant used to fund the endeavor. The Wabash Valley Civil War Sesquicentennial Project is a collaborative effort to recognize the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and specifically to document and commemorate the experiences of Wabash Valley men and women impacted by the war.

The grant runs through April 2012 and is the second funding provided for the project. It follows in the footsteps of a similar sponsorship last year, which allowed for the digitization of over 1,200 historical items from Vigo County.

The new grant will expand to incorporate material from Sullivan County. Cinda May, project director for Wabash Valley Visions and Voices, said the grant provides additional opportunities for the region.

"Receiving a second LSTA grant allows us to expand the Vigo County Civil War Digitization Project across the Wabash Valley to include material housed in the region's libraries, museums and archives, as well as encourage participation by area residents who have researched their Civil War ancestors or who have collected artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia related to the War Between the States," May said.

May adds that in addition to their own material, partners will be able to expand their Civil War website to include links to other related resources available on the Internet. Partners include the Sullivan County Public Library, the Sullivan County Historical Society, the Sullivan County Clerk's Office, the Sullivan County Recorder's Office and the ISU Cunningham Memorial Library.

Prior to the grant, available Civil War materials were largely unknown and underused, according to May. But because of the project, the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices website and the Indiana Memory website now offer searchable databases of historical material to the general public.

Sullivan County Recorder Shelley Hiatt Parris noted the project has created easy accessibility for public users.

"This will allow researchers to easily access this material online from home or anywhere they can utilize the internet," she said.

Members of the public that wish to view digitized materials can access them at http://visions.indstate.edu or http://www.in.gov/memories.

Contact: Cinda May, Indiana State University, assistant librarian and project director of Wabash Valley Visions & Voices, 812-237-2534 or Cinda.May@indstate.edu

Writer: Bethany Donat, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or bdonat@sycamores.indstate.edu