MCC to donate historical archives to Historical Society

December 20, 2023

Scottville School, circ. 1890.

MCC to donate historical archives to Historical Society

SCOTTVILLE — The Mason County Central Board of Education took a step toward preserving the district’s history Monday, Dec. 18, during its regular board meeting. Rob Alway, a member of the Mason County Historical Society Board of Directors, and collections chair of the Society, presented a proposal requesting the school district donate its historical archives to the Society.

MCC Junior Varsity Boys Basketball Team, 1957-1958.

Mason County Central School District was formed in 1955 as a consolidation of rural one-room school districts. Many of those districts began in the early 1870s. The district still has many of the documents from those districts, along with a vast collection of yearbooks, senior class photograph composites, miscellaneous photographs, and many sports, band and other extra curricular artifacts. While some of those items are on display at the school buildings, the majority are in storage.

““The Historical Society recognizes the value of preserving these items and wants to partner with the school district to make sure they are not lost in the future,” Alway said.

Part of the Society’s mission is to collect, preserve and present for viewing historically important artifacts, archives and buildings of the inhabitants of Mason County.

“Our intent is to work with the school district, review all the historical items and determine what should go into the collection,” Alway said.

Arnold O. Carlson, principal of Amber Township School District No. 6, Scottville 1927 to 1934; superintendent of Scottville School, 1934-1955; superintendent of MCC, 1955-1967.

The Society would properly document and archive the items, known as accessioning, so there will be a record of those items, including descriptions and where they are located. The Society operates three facilities including the Mason County Research Center in downtown Ludington, Historic White Pine Village in Pere Marquette Township and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum in Ludington.

“Naturally, our goal at the Society is not only to preserve history but also to teach history,” Alway said. “For this reason, many of the items, such as many of the sports paraphernalia, can be placed on temporary or permanent display at the school. Many of the school’s trophies date back to the 1920s.”

Alway said the ultimate goal for the documents and photographs would be to digitize those items. He said he would like to see students involved in the process of sorting the items and digitizing them.

“Ideally, we would like to have a kiosk at the high school where people can explore the historical documents, such as old yearbooks and class composite photographs, on a touchscreen,” Alway said.

“While the Historical Society operates three museums, we believe this partnership offers a way for us to bring more of our collection out to other areas of the county,” Alway said.

He said the Society would like to use the partnership with MCC as a pilot program to encourage other county school districts, municipalities, organizations and businesses to donate their historical items to the Society.

Board of Education President Jim Schulte praised the proposal. Schulte said he also serves on the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame board of directors which works closely with the Historical Society.

“This is a great proposal and would assure that our historic archives are preserved for many years to come,” Schulte said. “In my experience, the Mason County Historical Society is an extremely professional organization that is very qualified to take on this collection.”

While the board of education did not take formal action, board members gave a unanimous consent to proceed.

Superintendent Jeff Mount said he would work with Society representatives in the next phases to determine what items should go into the collection.

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