After the success of our summer program for local youth in 2013, the staff members at the Lawrence History Center were anxious to hold it again this year. With funding from the Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF), archivist Jennifer Williams and intern Andrew Scott worked with fifteen students this past July and August. The goal was to help local youths develop their research, writing, and public speaking skills by researching and documenting their life stories as they relate to the broader history of Lawrence.
The perception of Lawrence can be negative, so Williams and Scott worked hard to help students realize they should be proud of living in Lawrence, not ashamed. After a discussion of the positive events in Lawrence with regional, national, and worldwide impact, the students began to realize this fact. As one student said, “I feel proud now...our city is important, we've done important things...no one ever talks about this stuff, but they should.”
Australia, South Africa, Germany, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy, Quebec and the United States. These are just some of the places that recent research requests to LHC have come from. Every week, staff and volunteers field requests for information from people all over the world. With the click of a mouse a researcher can e-mail us with questions about topics ranging from public health and working conditions to arts and entertainment.
Earlier this year we were contacted by an author from Australia who is working on a book about the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 and requested some general information about its effects in Lawrence. LHC Assistant to the Director Amita Kiley searched our newspaper archive and scanned a few significant articles, e-mailed them to our researcher and, without even leaving the building, we helped someone on the other side of the world learn about Lawrence!