Final push day for voting…

January 23, 2015

I promise that this will be the last post about voting for the Huron Valley Historyvote graphic Initiative grant. You can go to the Clarke Library web site and Tweet from there or just Tweet or re-Tweet something from my earlier posts or from your own account.The Tweets need to have the hashtag #DigMilford in them to count as a vote. We are doing OK onthe Tweet voting, but Alpena has been right on our heals all along, so keep voting.

You can also vote by sending in a Michigan-themed postcard to – Clarke Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI  48859. Remember that each postcard counts as 100 votes, so they are really helpful. Postcards need to sent so that they arrive before Jan. 30; so, they probably need to be mailed by Wednesday the 28th. The postcards also need to have the hashtag #DigMilford on them somewhere, to identify the grants finalist that you are voting for. The cards can pictures of anything to do with Michigan or just a map of the state. Some children have made homemade maps buy drawing mitten shapes around their left hands with crayons and labeling it “Michigan.”

You Tweets and cards will help us win a grant from Clark Library to digitize the back issues of the Milford Times that we currently have on microfilm, the earliest gong back to 1871. We plan to index and make the resulting database available on-line for research. Help us make that happen through your support. Thanks.

Tweet, re-Tweet and Tweet again; then, have a great weekend!


The polls are open – Tweet, re-Tweet and Tweet again…

January 19, 2015

We have all witnessed the power of a 144-character Tweet to change the course of vote graphichistory in recent events in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. Now a Tweet has the power, not to change, but, to preserve history. Your Tweets, using the hashtag #DigMilford, can help the Huron Valley History Initiative win a grant from the Clarke History Library at Central Michigan University. That grant will allow the groups that have united behind this project to begin a project to digitize the back issue of The Milford Times that currently exist only on microfilm.

The Milford Times is a local, weekly newspaper that began publishing in 1871. The Milford Times has chronicled important events ever since in the Huron Valley area, which is made up of the Townships of Milford, Highland, Commerce and White Lake and the Village of Milford. Every issue that has been published since the beginning in 1871 is available on microfilm and the Milford Historical Museum and the Milford Library. That’s great, but the microfilm technology is very long in the tooth and does not allow sharing of the information, unless one is sitting in front of the microfilm reader. microfilm readerThe proposed project will digitize the entire microfilm library, index it and make it available on-line at all of the participating libraries and historical societies of the four Townships. Eventually it will be widely available on-line, along with other materials houses in each of the museums runs by the four Township historical societies.

A key to making this happen is a grant from the Clarke History Library, which is associated with Central Michigan University. Each year Clarke solicits grant applications for worthy projects concerning history. The Clarke staff narrows things down to five finalists and those five projects compete for the grant by proving that they support for their project from the local communities and elsewhere. That proof comes on the form of post cards and Tweets. I want to focus upon the Tweets here, because I believe that there is great power in the Tweet, once unleashed.

The voting will take place from Jan 19 until Jan 25. Clarke Library has established a site where people can go to vote – Clarke Library Voting Site. The site has all five grant finalist shown, so remember to vote for the Milford project – hashtag #DigMilford. You can also just Tweet using that hashtag (#DigMilford) within your Tweet or re-Tweet a Tweet that contains the hashtag #DigMilford. Did I mention that our hashtag is #DigMilford? I’ll be sending out a Tweet on Monday, Jan 19 with that hashtag in it, so that you can re-Tweet it, if you’d like.

Is this as important as a revolution playing out in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring or the loyalist forces who are using Tweets to communicate about Russian troop movements in the Ukraine? Of course not; but it can demonstrate again the power of the Internet and of Twitter to influence history. We will be able to track the number of Tweet votes that come in for each of the finalists. Using the simple power of my Twitter followers list and then asking them to pass this on to their followers’ lists, I believe that we can get 10,000 or more Tweets during that week for our project. Together, let’s demonstrate the power of the Tweet. You can Tweet as many times as you wish during the voting period, just remember to use the hashtag #DigMilford. Let’s rock the world this week! I Dig Milford, do you?

postcardAnd if you can’t or just don’t Tweet or want to go to the Clarke Library web site to vote, remember that you can send a Michigan-themed postcard (a postcard with a picture of something or someplace  in Michigan or a map of Michigan on it)  to Clark Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI  48859 and those postcards will each count as 100 votes.  The post card should have the hashtag #DigMilford written on it somewhere to be counted.

Progress without destruction – #DigMilford

January 5, 2015

“You raze the old to raise the new.”  (Justin Chen), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.  In modern terms this concept is sometimes called creative destruction. The idea seems to be the need to tear down the old to make way for the new. It is applied to buildings and industries and sometimes, unfortunately to relationships.

I’m not a Luddite by any means; however, I have a conflict of sorts with this concept, especially the rather cavalier discarding of everything old to make way for the new. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I’m currently the President of the Milford Historical Society – a group dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the Milford area.  old millThe name Milford came about because the area provided ample water-power sources and one could easily ford the Huron River at this point in the Huron Valley. Many mills of all sorts were built in Milford, none of which exist today. They were all torn down to make way for progress. Other communities that didn’t do so now have a nice attraction for visitors to see how things were done more than a century ago. All we have now are pictures of the mills in our Milford Historical Museum. Perhaps preserving at least one mill would have been a good idea.

Entire industries also get destroyed by progress and some of that is inevitable. The entire industry built around the horse and carriage as a means of transportation was rendered obsolete and Eire canaluseless by the invention of the automobile. The rise of the railroad industry put a quick end to the nascent industry devoted to building canals to allow for transport by boat. Eventually the railroads, at least as a means of long distance travel, were largely obsoleted by the rise of the airplane and the airliner. The railroad industry shifted almost completely to bulk transporting, which is does better than airplanes.  There are lots of other examples. Of course, not all progress has been accompanied by the demise of earlier industries. In some cases the new didn’t replace anything old; it just allowed new things that hadn’t been done before. One could argue the case for computers or the Internet as examples; although there were some things that were probably displaced by them, too.

Sometimes we allow new relationships to tear down old ones, often due to the demands of either the new or the old. New friends or loves in our lives demand attention, which is often time taken away from an older relationship. That does not go unnoticed and can sour the previous relationship. In the case of your life partner, there can be only one at a time, both legally and practically. Other long-term relationships, especially those of blood, can also get displaced. There’s an old saying that mothers everywhere know is somewhat true – “a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter for all of her life.” Many moms feel displaced by their son’s wife, at least partially; but the woman to women relationship that remains between the mom and her daughter may just get stronger as the daughter matures.

Can there be progress without destruction? Can new things develop without tearing down the old? I think so. There is no doubt that the old will be somewhat displaced by the new; however, perhaps the old can assume a new role and not be completely destroyed. At a minimum, some examples of the old should be saved as part of our history and heritage, so that our children can see and appreciate how things were before the world that they live in came about. That is the role of our museums; a role that should be supported by the community, both financially, so that they can continue to exist, and by the community’s use and participation in their programs.

Our Milford Historical Museum is one tiny repository of history in our little corner of the world. It operates totally on donations, both from the community and from the membership of the Milford Historical Society. You can learn more about it at our web site – . We are currently involved in a project to preserve a key part of our history by bringing an microfilm readerimportant part of it into the 21st Century. The Milford Historical Society has for some time been collecting and preserving copies of the weekly publication The Milford Times on microfilm. Microfilm is an industry that is ending – displaced by the more modern digital means of storing things. The old microfilm machines are hard or impossible to buy or maintain anymore. So, we have joined several other local historical groups and libraries in the area in a project to have our microfilm library of issues of the Milford Times dating back to 1871 digitized into a searchable dtatbase. This is a valuable historical research resource that will become much more accessible once we get the library digitized, indexed and on-line. The project will go on to digitize images of our Museum’s collection of old photos and other memorabilia.

You can read more about the microfilm digitization project at our web site, as well as how to vote for this project in a grant competition in which we are a finalist. Between January  19 and January 25, any Tweets on Twitter that carry the hash tag #DigMilford will count as a vote for this project. I hope that many of my readers will vote for us and our project to preserve the history of the Milford area. I’ll post another reminder closer to the voting window dates.