Newspaper Microfilm Is Digitized!

Local history is now available at researchers’ fingertips thanks to the two-year fundraising project to digitize 113 years of local newspapers. Just before Christmas, the Museum received 311 DVDs that contained individual pages of PDFs that were digitized by the Records Conversion Department at Oklahoma Correctional Industries.

Volunteers set to work, and by early January (and after about 150 volunteer hours) the PDFs were organized by year, decade and month. [swpm_protected format_protected_msg="1" custom_msg='This content is for members only-Please login']

The searchable PDFs have been loaded onto the Museum’s new 4 terabyte server – making them more accessible to our researchers.

The digitized collection comprises nearly 27,000 issues of local newspapers including Daily and Weekly Calls, Excelsior Springs Journal, The Phunn (this newsletter’s namesake), Daily and Weekly Standards, The Northwest Missourian, The Morning News, and Excelsior Springs Review. The oldest issue is Oct. 12, 1888, from The Excelsior Springs Times, which is on display on the flip board in the Francis Hall.

The cost of the project, first estimated at about $4,000, increased to $6,300 because there were more images on each roll of microfilm than originally estimated. But thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Missouri State Genealogy Association’s 21st Century Fund, multiple donations from key friends of the Museum, and the Museum’s fundraising efforts, the project was funded and completed in 2018. In addition to the donated funds, the Museum also spent $500 from its Preservation budget and $1,500 from its Acquisitions budget for the project. Future fundraising and earmarked donations will replenish those budget items.

With this project and the earlier digitization of the ESHS yearbooks, there is now a wealth of information at researchers’ fingertips.