Opinion: Preserving the past

Published 5:59 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

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It was a dark and stormy Sunday in Columbiana on Feb. 4 but it didn’t stop local community members from gathering together at the Shelby County Museum and Archives to recognize an important and momentous occasion for the county.

As Jennifer Maier, the executive director of the Shelby County Historical Society, delivered an address to the crowd, she remarked on the process of getting ready for the event and the amount of people that have been involved on the way. She said she gets chills when she considered all the work was done to preserve the very building everyone was sitting in—The Shelby County Museum and Archives which also once served as the old Shelby County Courthouse.

The Shelby County Historical Society’s celebration of 50 years marks a milestone for the county as countless individuals have contributed to the preservation of our county’s history.

On its surface, the Shelby County Museum and Archives might seem like just an old building filled with dusty old memorabilia at the center of a roundabout, however, when one begins to looks more intently at the objects within, they are also looking inside themselves.

Objects that once were extremely common everyday items now look almost foreign due to the cultural shifts and the simple passage of time. These things give us insight into the lives of those before us and help us better understand the world of the past and how the country arrived at its present situation. One can only learn so much from reading books, but having that tangible heirloom can bring a whole new depth to each story.

The Shelby County Historical Society also brought new depth to its mission with the introduction of the Shelby County Families Archives which intends to preserve the history of significant families in Shelby County.

As Shelby County continues to grow, it is vital that its residents remember and learn from the past as we continue on into the future.