The Sparks Heritage Museum will get a huge boost on Friday when TransCanada Corp. makes a $5,000 donation to the museum’s archival research library project.
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini will be on hand, along with museum staff, to accept the $5,000 community investment grant from representatives of TransCanada’s Tuscarora Gas Transmission Co. at 2:30 p.m. in front of the museum.
“Our total goal is to raise $25,000,” said Kelly Reis, museum manager. “That will give use what we need to build beautiful book shelves with glass fronts to protect our archival materials but allow visitors to see what’s available. We’ll also have desks for visitors in a dedicated research area.
“Currently we have free research services for people who come in. Staff helps locate the information they’re looking for. And, depending on the information they need, we may grab it right off the shelf or, if it involves more research, they may need to make an appointment and return.”
The new library cases and desks will create a publically accessible archival library space and facilitate access to the museum’s extensive research materials, including oral histories, family memoirs, literature specific to Sparks, early twentieth century census information and more than 3,500 digitized photographs.
“That access is important because none of our materials can leave the building,” Reis noted. “We have everything from yearbooks going back to the 1920’s to genealogy information.”
One of the museum’s core missions is to preserve the written history of the area for the education of the people. Consequently, staff is always interested in seeing items locals may have to donate. “We enjoy looking at any items people bring in,” Reis said. “It’s amazing what families find in basement and attics.”
Staff is applying for more grants to go toward the total $25,000 cost with the actual building expected to begin early next year.
TransCanada, a leader in North American energy infrastructure, directed more than $14.6 million to nearly 1,500 non-profit organizations in 2014.