Historical society hits artifact milestone


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Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER — The South River Historical and Preservation Society (SRHPS) made history earlier this spring by adding the 10,000th item to its catalog of artifacts, many of which are on display at the South River Museum.

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“Because of the numbering system used in our catalog, it’s difficult to tell exactly what the 10,000th item is. We believe it’s a small newspaper clipping about the 1971 fire that destroyed the building that served as the town’s firehouse in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but it could have been any one of several items that were part of a large donation given to us earlier this year by Woodis Booraem, one of the founding members of the Society,” said SRHPS Artifacts Committee Chair Stephanie Bartz.

Artifacts mainly come into SRHPS’ possession as donations, according to Bartz, from people who find items in their attics or basements as well as anonymous packages dropped off at the museum. The society’s cataloged its first item, a 1914 map of Washington Park donated by Former Monroe Mayor Richard Pucci, in 2001.

Today, the collection includes yearbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, locally produced goods, police logs from 1919 and 1920, pieces of a Civil War-era rifle found under the floorboards of a South River home and much more.

“Today’s events are tomorrow’s history, so contemporary items are also collected,” Bartz said.

Since SRHPS’ collection is too large to have on display at once, it selects items to exhibit in the South River Museum that can be designed around a collection or aligned with a particular theme. For example, Bartz pointed out that she and her team are in the process of crafting an exhibit about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War to coincide with an upcoming living history event featuring Lincoln, which the museum will hold on June 22.

The Society is also partnering with the South River Public Library to exhibit items as part of the library’s rotating displays. The first such exhibit will appear in July and focus on South River’s embroidery industry.

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