GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 58

Caitlin Clyne has been
providing her services
in the Resource Center
since last spring. She is
completing her graduate
certificate in Archival
Administration from
Wayne State’s School
of Library and Infor-
mation Science and
has an undergraduate
degree fromWayne in
anthropology. She has
worked in the collec-
tions of several museums
and archives, including the Detroit Historical Society,Wisconsin
Maritime Museum,Troy Museum and Historic Village, and the
Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection.We are so
grateful to have her help and thought
The Moorings
readers would
like to know a little more about her.
Howdid you first get involvedwith theGrosse PointeHistorical
I first came as a researcher, interested in my family’s history in
Grosse Pointe.My Irish great-great aunts came to the area around
1880 and married French ribbon farmers with names like Beaufait
and Beaupre. In spring 2010, I was taking a class in archiving
photograph collections, and requested to do my internship with
the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, as I’d always wanted a chance
to work with their archives.The internship ended, but I remained,
and in September I was officially brought on staff as archivist.
Why are you interested in history?
I’ve always been interested in history through the stories that
artifacts can tell us. I think that’s what first led me to archaeology.
In school, history can seem dry and distant to many people.
But objects, photographs, and documents provide us with an
immediate connection to the past and the people who came
before us. For example, pioneer life can seem very abstract until
one steps into the Society’s log cabin and feels how cramped
and confining life inside must have been.
What types of things are you doing for the Society?
Over the past six months I’ve accessioned over 80 percent of
the backlog of donated materials, cataloging items such as photo-
graphs, property abstracts, yearbooks, blueprints and genealogies
into our PastPerfect Museum Software. I’ve also helped bring
the Society up to modern professional museum standards by
developing a Deed of Gift form for incoming donations, as well
as reproduction/usage forms for materials in the collections. I’m
continually working to make the collections more organized and
accessible for researchers.
Why do you think local history is so important?
Growing up, we learn history on a mainly national or state level,
and it can seem very removed from our own lives. Local history
illustrates how the men and women in our own communities
shaped the future in ways we can personally connect to. For
example, Jacobson’s or Sanders were not national institutions, but
their businesses in Grosse Pointe played important roles in the
lives of thousands of residents, myself included.
How can organizations like the GPHS help preserve and promote
local history?
Aside from collecting and preserving materials of historical
significance, organizations like the GPHS also help preserve and
promote local history by engaging the people in our community
through programs and events.We introduce children to local his-
tory through our One-Room School program, and we reach out
to other community organizations for partnership opportunities.
What can residents do to help preserve and promote local history?
People often hold a wealth of information about the history of
their own community. Identify residents in your area who have
stories that need to be told and recommend them to local histori-
cal organizations to arrange an oral history recording. Or utilize
your own community knowledge to assist as a volunteer with
research and cataloging in the archives.
You can also support the local historical organizations by attend-
ing sponsored events or historical programs. Better yet, become a
member of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society and receive added
benefits, such as one hour of free research on any local topic, and
special member-only rates for any research thereafter.
Why is local history important to all age groups (senior citizens,
young adults, children)?
Local history has something to offer for every generation, from
teaching the ways of the past to offering visions of the future. It
gives older adults an opportunity to connect to the places and
events that shaped their lives and share the resulting stories. For
children, learning about local history through interactive experi-
ences often creates their first sense of what life was like before the
constant connection of the digital age, and creates a foundation on
which to build their understanding of history.
For the generations in between, local history provides the most
exciting opportunity of all. It gives a context of how people and
events created the world we live in today, and offers lessons and
inspiration for creating a better community in the future through
the decisions we make.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve received from
the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.They’ve placed a great deal
of trust in my capabilities and my input, and the confidence I’ve
gained from that has become an integral part of my foundation
as a professional.The enthusiastic and dedicated staff and trustees
of the Society are wonderful and I’m very proud of the direction
they are taking the Society in order to grow as both a historical
resource and part of the community.
Meet our Archivist
Caitlin Clyne
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