Current or former residents of Madison County are invited to attend a “History Harvest” on Saturday, November 19 from 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. at the Madison County Archival Library. The library is located at 801 N. Main St. in Edwardsville, Illinois. The focus of this History Harvest is to collect information for a future museum exhibit about immigration and migration to Madison County.
One of the first exhibits for the renovated MCHS History Museum will reflect who came to settle in Madison County and where they came from. This is of importance whether they came to Madison County 200 years ago or 20 years ago. One of the primary sources for this information is census records, but MCHS also wants to learn personal stories and make copies of the documentation that tells that story. Photographs of immigrant ancestors, naturalization papers or an item brought from the “old country” would all be appropriate items to bring. Those items will be scanned or photographed for the MCHS digital collection.
MCHS is also interested in migrations to Madison County. The Society is already aware of a large migration of people from the area surrounding Dover, Tennessee, to Granite City a century ago, but is looking for documentation. There were also many Italian immigrants who first went to northern Wisconsin or Colorado before hearing of the coal mines in Madison County. Many Black families arrived from the South at the beginning of the last century. The Society wants to learn more and collect documentation for all of these events.
The future exhibit is a collaborative effort of MCHS staff and volunteers with students and faculty from SIUE’s IRIS Center and Department of History. It is supported by a SHARP grant from the American Historical Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
If area residents know the story of how or why their family moved to Madison County and have documentation, the Society asks that they attend this scanning event to make their family part of the recorded story of Madison County. Participants will be given a USB drive with high-quality digital images of their items.
Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are recommended. Call 618-656-7569 to make an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do I have to donate the item? No! You keep the items. We just take a picture.
- How many items should I bring? Please pick out one or two items that you find most interesting and relevant to the theme of migration and immigration
- How long will it take? Appointments should take 20-30 minutes.
- What kind of things are you looking for? It could be anything. Letters, photographs, documents, special items carried with your ancestors on their journey, and the stories that go with them.
- As one of the organizers pointed out, size is important. It could be anything of a size that can be easily photographed in the library. That means you can’t bring the ’57 Chevy your grandparents drove here in. (Just bring a photograph!)
For additional information, or to make other arrangements if unable to attend on November 19, call 618-656-7569.
Madison County Archival Library
801 N. Main Street
Edwardsville, Illinois (Map)