The Cambrian

Plenty of ways to help out Cambria Historical Society

Michele Pezzoli-Kennedy works on one of the cyclists in the “Cycling Thru the Ages” display created by the Slabtown Rollers in 2013 as part of the annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival put on by the Cambria Historical Society.
Michele Pezzoli-Kennedy works on one of the cyclists in the “Cycling Thru the Ages” display created by the Slabtown Rollers in 2013 as part of the annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival put on by the Cambria Historical Society. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The sun had hardly set on the memorable Celebration of Authors on Saturday, July 2, but the planning committee of the Cambria Historical Society had already begun crafting the next major benefit, the Harvest Festival events in October. Stay tuned to this monthly column for exciting news of what’s coming, and check out our website.

There is no doubting the dedication and energy of our volunteers, as well as the commitment of those members and the community who support the society’s mission and programs. That support necessarily extends to the financial operation of the museum and the recent purchase of the adjacent Maggetti House, so please accept our sincere thanks for all your participation, whatever form it takes.

Board members look forward to the day when the expanding needs for storing archives and materials in a controlled environment can be met in the nearby blue house, the office can also be moved there, and the bedroom in the original 1870s house can be set up for display.

Now is the time to take a good, hard look at how this will be accomplished, and the answer seems to be through sizable contributions and grants. The most immediate need is for a person who will dedicate the time to research grant opportunities and write up the application with the collaboration of a board member. This would not be a volunteer position; it would involve a fair commission to the applicant. If you are interested, please contact President John Ehlers immediately at 805-927-3065.

Archives update

Speaking of archives, we recently have accessed our files doing research, and appreciate those who set up the system and others who have donated photos and artifacts. In your own experience, you may have noticed that many of your family items are undated and without names. We experienced the same problem, so now is the time to ensure that those who care about the legacy of the past can best preserve those memories for the future; record the names and dates and occasions, and store them in archival containers. Designate them to someone who cares, so they are not trashed by someone who does not.

According to historian Dawn Dunlap, Louise Squibb, widow of Paul Squibb, would have eliminated his collection or donated it to the Cambria Historical Society, which did not even exist about 1991. Neighbors Ken Cooper and Wilfred Lyons literally created the society at that time, thus saving the valuable memorabilia. Wilfred continued collecting local history.

There is an increasing interest in researching one’s own heritage, and it is worth the investment to arrange for simple DNA testing through the National Geographic Genome Project and Ancestry.com. Don’t hesitate — you may discover that your next-door neighbor is actually your fifth-generation cousin!

Researcher Melody Coe has been invaluable to CHS, and for a reasonable fee she may be able to assist you looking up records. Call her at 805-927-7704. You may have a story to tell and don’t know where to start or how to organize and record your anecdotes. Ted Moreno is available to assist you with that. Reach him at 805-927-8744.

Join or volunteer

Lastly, show that you care about your community. Join the Cambria Historical Society, volunteer for training as a museum docent with Penny Church at 805-927-1442, or sign up to help in the heirloom garden with Kelly Johnson, 805-927-3612.

Enlist your kids and carry on the tradition of “Squibbing,” named for the couple who picked up trash as they strolled about town. There are free canvas tote bags and disposable gloves available at the museum store.

While there, be sure to stock up on the new souvenirs to commemorate Cambria’s sesquicentennial, 150 years of fascinating history!

Consuelo Macedo’s column on the Cambria Historical Society and the town’s history appears the first Thursday of each month and is special to The Cambrian.

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