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John G. Riley Museum awarded grant to digitize their archives

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The John G. Riley Museum is working to digitize its archives with the help of a new grant.

The project is happening in collaboration with Florida State University libraries and Tallahassee Community College, with the hope of making local stories more accessible.

“It’s time, it’s way past time,” said Althemese Barnes, the founder and executive director emeritus of the Riley Museum.

Barnes founded the Riley Center and Museum in 1996. The museum was created as a place to tell the stories of Black Floridians through photos, documents, tapes, and more.

“The people who helped build the buildings and create families and raise families in their own way, on their own power,” explained Barnes.

Now the museum will be able to preserve the rich history in a digital format.

Barnes told WCTV the project began four months ago and is still in the planning stages.

The museum was award more than $245,000 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The archives are currently stored at TCC.

Barnes said the collection has more than 900 linear feet.

“And that does not include the over 150 oral histories that were taken on VHS tapes with the old camcorder camera,” she said.

Once digitized, the collection will be shared across the state of Florida. Barnes’ hope is that it starts a Florida-wide digital collection of Black history that can be shared for generation to come.

“It’s up to the now generation to take it further,” Barnes said.

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.

The archives stored at TCC are open to the public.

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