A message from Vasa Archivist Kathy Cuff, Vasa Star, Winter 2017

Welcome back from the Holidays. Our community paper mache Dala horse went well with 141 children and adults participating. We received lots of positive feedback and will be making a tomte next year. We ended the visitor season with Lucia Night. Local storyteller, Brian “Fox” Ellis, drew in 115 people during the 2-day event. What a wonderful way to end the year!

The Vasa Archives is enjoying a break at the moment. While we are closed for the season, we will gladly open the archive for visitors and take research requests. We are spending the time researching for a new exhibit on Swedish and Swedish-American art. If there is a special piece you want included, please let us know. The new exhibit will open April 1 during Bishop Hill’s Spring Jubilee. We may offer some special arts and crafts related workshops over the next two years while the exhibit is up. If you would like to offer a workshop or suggest one to us, let us know.

We had a great tourist season this year. Visitor numbers during regular days for the 2016 season are at 568 people, more than double last year’s totals. We’ve seen a lot of support for special events and reached an additional 681 people! We will be repeating many of the events in the coming year. We hope you will be able to join us for one of these events or the many others held in Bishop Hill.

On January 10, 2017, we had our first in a series of Game Nights that will run until March 21. This first Game Night had 10 participants playing various games in the Archive basement. We look forward to continued success in future Game Nights as we continue outreach to the local community.

Thanks to a generous donation, we have received a new scanner for the archives to help with future digitalization projects. We will be making arrangements soon to join a digital library that will allow us to put the collections on a searchable database. We will be offering an internship during the summer to get a jump start on our digitalization. Our research request records show that over 70% of our requests concern genealogical and membership information. We will begin with the membership applications which has information collected between censuses and information that may be helpful to researchers. We’ll keep you updated on our progress.

If you have any questions about the collections or the archives, feel free to contact me at VasaArchivist@gmail.com or at 309-927-3898. For more current information on Bishop Hill or the Vasa National Archives, like us on Facebook.

In Truth and Unity,

Kathy Cuff, CA

Vasa Archivist

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