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Bair Gives Selectmen Update on Historical Society

Upton Historical Society President Tom Bair provided the Board of Selectmen an update on the Society's latest activities as well as its space needs and how they might be affected by the downtown revitalization project. The discussion took place during a September 17 meeting.

The Historical Society and the Historical Room Museum are located on the second floor of the Knowlton Risteen Building. Bair began his 20-minute presentation with information on the energy use of the building, which also houses the Library.

During the winter of 2016 – 2017, Bair stated a temperature survey in the

building revealed a number

of areas were unnecessarily heated when not occupied. As

a result, 13 automatic setback thermostats were purchased

by the Library and installed by Bair throughout the building

in March 2018. "The gas usage dropped significantly," said Bair.

Over the last year, the Historical Society began the arduous task of taking inventory of all its documents, books, scrapbooks, and journals acquired prior to 2002; the year a database system then began to be utilized.

"We have 150 scrapbooks and one of our volunteers came in and indexed all the articles in 150 scrapbooks," said Bair, noting the inventory efforts

are an ongoing process and volunteers are welcome to assist.

In addition, nearly 70 VHS tapes were indexed with the Upton Historical Commission offering to fund the conversion of some of those tapes. The tapes were converted to DVDs and MP4 files formats so they are easily accessible to residents. To date, 21 of the VHS tapes have been converted to digital format.

Bair also reported staff at the Historical Museum spent nearly four months on the creation of a new exhibit that focusses on the hat industry and highlights the hat companies that operated in Upton.

Over the first few days of it's opening, Bair estimated approximately 50 people came to see the exhibit. "They were really thrilled with exhibit and meeting other people who worked in the factories as well." The exhibit will continue to be on display during the museum's regular hours.

When speaking about the Historical Society and museum's space, Bair said they are trying to keep abreast of what impact it may have on their area should the downtown redevelopment initiative move forward.

The rooms that currently occupy the Historical Society, including the museum, the archive room plus storage space on the second floor, total 2,350 square feet in the Knowlton Risteen Building.

Bair said the current arrangement of the rooms has resulted in "a lot of intermingling," of museum, office, research, and storage functions in those rooms. As a result, he took an inventory of every item and its space needs and developed new floor plans that would help reorganize the uses of the current space.

The Selectmen thanked Bair for his presentation noting the information on the Historical Society's space needs were very helpful.


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