New Life for St. Wenceslaus
We are so happy to announce that MPA will receive an $8,000 grant from Humanties Montana to begin the Montana Touchstone project at the St. Wenceslaus Church in Danvers. This grant comes as the fourth in a series of grants totaling $19,000, which will assist with the stabilization and repair of the church, and fund the effort to create a community archive housing historical records and photographs of the Danvers community. In the past few months, MPA was awarded $5,000 from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, $5,000 from the Jerry Metcalf Foundation, and $1,000 from the Montana Community Foundation to repair the church roof.
The Touchstone Project: Saving Montana’s Small Town Heritage is a multidisciplinary program to help communities preserve their heritage and threatened historic places, and share their human experience with a broad audience. Humanities Montana funding will focus on Danvers, Montana. MPA will take traditional efforts to collect historic materials and oral interviews, and make them far more relevant and accessible through a digital archive that will reside in a stabilized local, historical repository, and be uploaded to the state’s online memory project. We will invite new information, tap new audiences and share the content across the worldwide web through social networking. Professional historians and curators will pilot this innovative effort, ensuring that materials are handled, housed, and digitized according to the highest curatorial standards in order to save threatened heritage while creating a hopeful model for celebrating history and reinvigorating neighborhoods and communities.
The project is an effort to help rural communities preserve their cultural heritage and threatened historic places. Through this program, MPA is pioneering a two track approach that involves first, collecting stories, rescuing and scanning historic materials, conducting oral interviews and creating a digital archive, and secondly, establishing and stabilizing a repository in a local historic venue and sharing the heritage with a wide audience through the state library’s Montana Memory Project.