County Museum gets permission to chase a grant for photo collection

County Museum gets permission to chase a grant for photo collection

SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Sweetwater County Historical Museum received permission from the Sweetwater County Commissioners to apply for a $10,000 grant as their efforts to obtain the New Studio photo collection continues to moves forward.

Museum Director Ruth Lauritzen explained the grant was a $10,000 grant which did not need a match provided. The grant also had to be a partnership grant between a governmental entity and a general entity. The grant had to have an artistic element as well as be something which would enhance economic development. Sweetwater County Commission Chairman Wally Johnson said the New Studio collection goes a long way back documenting the history of this area. “I think it would be a very valuable asset,” Johnson added.

There has been discussion on where they would keep the collection and at the meeting Commissioner John Kolb asked if there had been any new developments.

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There are about 75,000 negatives in the collection, but Lauritzen explained it also includes some of the cameras which took these photos. She said she thought all they needed was a 20” x 30” space but told Kolb there had not been any decision made on where they would store the collection.

One benefit Lauritzen spoke about was replacing photos. She said most of family portraits and other similar services were done by New Studio. She said if pictures are lost in a house fire or another disaster, the museum would be able to replace them if they were taken by New Studio. Johnson added many of the high school graduation pictures were also taken by New Studio.
Another question Kolb asked Lauritzen was how she planned to digitizing them. She told Kolb it would take the museum staff way too long to do it so they are looking at applying for an $85,000 grant. This would require a match. Lauritzen said the match would come from the museum’s regular budget. This grant would be used to hire a person to come in and digitize all the negatives. Lauritzen figured it would take about a year for the collection to be completely digital.

The conversation then took a turn focusing on applying for grants. Lauritzen asked the commissioners if she needs to involve the county when she applies for a grant. Johnson said she absolutely needs to go through the county for auditing purposes.

“We need to know what’s going on,” he stressed to her, noting County Grant Coordinator Krisena Marchal did not know about this grant until the day before the commission meeting.