Archival Facility Requirements Nearing Completion

The Marblehead Historical Commission is leading a planning project for the future Town-wide Marblehead Archival Facility. Initiated in July 2017, the planning project will culminate in late 2019 with a Master Plan for creation of the Archival Facility. The project is being assisted by well-known archival consultant Michele Pacifico. An Archives Advisory Committee has been established by the Selectmen to provide direction to the project.

In the first phase of the project, local organizations that wished to participate in the planning project, along with Town Departments, were identified; these organizations provided Letters of Intent to verify their willingness to participate. The second phase, establishing the facility requirements, is now underway.

A draft of the Marblehead Archival Facility Requirements Document was presented to the Archival Advisory Committee on June 13th by consultant Michele Pacifico. The requirements are expected to be finalized this Fall, following completion of archival holdings size measurements at a number of Town Departments and other participating organizations in town. The Advisory Committee also will establish types of spaces to be included in the Archival Facility, number of archival workers, volunteers, and researchers to be accommodated. Outlines of many of the archive’s policies and procedures will also need to be completed by the Committee.

We are fortunate to have a Master’s Degree candidate intern from Simmons College, Ariana Fiorello, who is taking the lead, in conjunction with consultant Pacifico, on measurements and recommendations for the other needed items. She is also developing a cataloging tool for the participating organizations to use as well as a list of preferred archival storage materials.

More information is available on the Historical Commission web site at: http://marbleheadhistory.org/preservation-planning/marblehead-archive/

Shipyard Survey Report

Shipyard Part 1 Survey documents are now complete and available for downloading.  Three documents have been posted: the Shipyard Part 1 Final Report, the Shipyard Part 1 Survey Property List, and the Shipyard Part 1 Inventory Map.

This project, the first of a two-phase effort, recorded architectural, historical and photographic documentation for 68 properties in the Shipyard District for individual properties and two areas on inventory forms provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC).

The objectives of the survey were to retrieve information relevant to historic properties, their owners and builders, organize it in narratives that are accessible and informative to a variety of users, and provide assessments of significance that contribute to local and state preservation planning.

Learn more and download the survey documents…

A piece of Mary Alley Comes Home

Marblehead Reporter:  A piece of Mary Alley Comes Home.

Oct. 5th article on the Mary Alley fireplace surround and its future installation in the Widget Road municipal building.

Click here to see the article on the Wicked Local web site:

http://marblehead.wickedlocal.com/news/20171004/piece-of-marbleheads-own-mary-alley-comes-home

Read more Press clippings.

Presenting our New Web Site!

Welcome to the new version of the Marblehead Historical Commission web site.  Improving the look and usability of the site was important, but the key reason for change was to make it easier to search the archives.  As the stewards for an amazing archive of historical artifacts, images, and documents for the Town of Marblehead, we serve a range of researchers from the professional to the merely curious, but searching the archive was just too difficult.  Not anymore!

New software now makes it possible for the entire archive to be searched either from Google or from our Search page.  From the latter, you can search with just a word or two, or you can narrow your search by adding search criteria and categories.  Give the new search a try and let us know how you like it.

Another reason for updating the site is the increased use of smart phones and tablets to access the site.  More people are browsing and searching for information from their handheld devices with smaller screens, so the old designs for web sites just didn’t work as well.  Our updated site is designed to accommodate screens of all sizes and to show the information in a layout that is appropriate to your screen.

For those who want to stay current with upcoming events related to our Town’s history, we have also introduced a calendar that will show not only upcoming events for the Historical Commission, but also events to be held by other organizations that are likely to be of interest.  For those who like to look back, our calendar also contains highlighted dates from Marblehead’s history so you can learn Marblehead’s fascinating stories day-by-day throughout the year.

Finally, we’ve tried to provide lots more information for both residents and visitors who want to see and experience Marblehead’s rich history.  For historic structures and places and for Marblehead’s numerous museums, there are now maps to guide you there, pictures to show you what you’ll find, and descriptions to help you understand the historical importance.

While the renovation of the site was a large project, we plan to continue make incremental enhancements in the future. As you use the new site, please provide your feedback so we can add the right information in a way that you find usable, fun, and informative. Send us comments at mailto:historic@marblehead.org

Marblehead Shoe Shop to Become Museum

Marblehead’s early history was formed by the shoe industry almost as much as it was by its fishing fleet and revolutionary spirit. Between voyages, many fishermen would hand-make shoes in small shops, called “Ten-Footers”. Later in the 1800’s this led to the creation of a full-fledged shoe industry in Town.

Several “Ten-Footers” still survive in Marblehead, although most have been modified over the years and are now barely recognizable as such. However, one excellent example of a “Ten-Footer”, located at the foot of Fountain Park on Orne St., is owned by the Town. This shoe shop can reveal much about the local economy before the industrial era. Thanks to a grant application by Town Planner Rebecca Cutting, the Town has received a 2016 Essex Heritage Partnership Matching Grant Award that will allow this “Ten-Footer” to become a museum of the early pre-industrial shoe industry in Marblehead. The Town has awarded a Contract to Larson Fisher Associates, of Woodstock, NY to research and design an interpretative program for this “small” museum (after all, it is called a “Ten-Footer” for a reason). The primary goal of the project is to design, fabricate and install interpretative panels at the site. The project work scope will entail researching and creating story boards, the exhibit’s visual elements, and its physical specifications. The displays will use information and possibly artifacts from the Marblehead Historical Commission and other sources. It is expected that this project will be completed in mid-2017. In a separate project, the Town will renovate and restore the shoe shop.