The Grant County Historical Society (GCHS) is overjoyed to be awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The Society had hoped that in the year 2020 they could convert older artifact records to a new database so that community members, students, and researchers could better use the vast collections held by the Society. Then the Coronavirus hit in March necessitating the closure for several months of the Society’s museum and research center in Lancaster.
Now with the three-month CARES grant award historian and museum specialist, Tracey Roberts of Platteville, is spearheading a collections management project. A specialized database, used by many museums around the country, will be purchased as well as a new computer to be used by several trained volunteers. Roberts said, “The first project will be to properly accession, inventory, and catalogue all the artifacts in the 1837 Mitchell-Rountree Cottage in Platteville.” Laura J. Rountree, the granddaughter of the founder of Platteville, John H. Rountree, bequeathed the home and its contents to the Society in the 1960s. She devoted her life to maintaining and caring for the historic home, the oldest stone house in Platteville. “Her story is very interesting. She lived in the home for all of her ninety-five years, wrote music, taught piano, and was an accomplished painter” said Roberts. By doing the work of cataloguing her belongings, which include furnishings dating to the 1820s, personal record keeping notebooks of her daily expenses, her paintings, family photos, and personal belongings, the Society will be better able tell her story and the story of the Stone Cottage. Sonia Case, GCHS Board President, said, “We are very grateful for this financial assistance which will help us preserve and interpret the history and cultures of Grant County.” If readers are interested in getting involved with this project or wish to donate to keep the Collection Preservation and Cataloguing Project going, please contact the Society at 608 723-4925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be sent to GCHS 129 E. Maple St. Lancaster, WI 53813.