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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.



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Louis Palenske Collection, Wabaunsee County

Posted by Megan Macken (Digital Archivist) on May 9, 2017

The following is a post by guest writer Greg Hoots.

In May of 2016 the Wabaunsee County Historical Society (WCHS) was awarded a grant from the Kansas State Historic Records Advisory Board (KSHRAB) which allowed our organization to digitize and preserve over 400 photographs and manuscripts of Kansas landscape photographer, Louis Palenske. Additionally, the grant provided funding for the development of a website for our organization.

Sante Fe Trail Ruts, Kansas, Louis Palenske

The digitization and long-term storage of the Palenske collection was a significant addition to the WCHS digital archives, which was founded in 2014. The Palenske collection was important not only because of the number of images and documents which were included in the group, but because the collection of Western landscapes are of significant cultural and historical importance.

The second element of the grant project, the creation of a WCHS website, has been extremely successful in achieving its initial goal of making records and photographs in our collection accessible to the public.  Even more significantly, the new website has an incredible potential for in allowing our organization to achieve its mission as a historical society and museum.

Birdseye view of Alma, Kansas, Louis Palenske

Accessibility to our museum in Alma has always been shortcoming of our organization, in that we are only open 25-hours a week during most of the year, and 10-hours each week during the winter months.  Our abbreviated hours of operation, coupled with a very rural location, made accessibility to our photos, records and exhibits a challenge for many visitors.

The new website has allowed us to bring our museum to everyone with internet access, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The results have been impressive. In the first three months of service our website has seen 3,900 visitors who have viewed 38,000 different photos, articles, and documents.

Historically, our museum has only received about 1,300 visitors annually, and we are able to reach that many individuals monthly with our website.  The potential for the future of our website is limited only by our imaginations and our willingness to embrace the use of the internet to provide our services to the public.

The Wabaunsee County Historical Society website can be accessed at the url: https://wabaunseecomuseum.org/

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