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In the scanning process, she can manipulate the image to retrieve visual information. It’s tedious, but “I enjoy it. I get lost in my work,” she said. She doesn’t even mind that she leaves the office “smelling like burnt stuff.”
Similarly, she’s sifted through a couple of hundred death certificates from the 1920s through the early 1950s. She even came across the record for the doctor who delivered her when she was a baby, she said.
It’s a daunting task, but she’s driven by the fact that this is “something that hundreds of people pore over when they want to know about their great-whomever,” she said. “There’s gold in those documents for someone doing research.”
An asset to the community
Mike Warring, a county commissioner who serves on the Historical Society board, said he’s encouraged by the fact that “we had so many people volunteer and step up to help,” he said.
Those who strived to rescue items after the fire worked especially hard amid record-setting hot weather, he said. “The community has been watching and has been very supportive,” he said.
He’s pleased with the new facility, for which many contractors donated labor and supplies. Going forward, he hopes the center serves as a community gathering place. “We’re looking forward to a lot more visitors. It’s something new again,” he said.
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer.