KENAI (AP) -- A history professor at Kenai Peninsula College is seeking old photographs, journals, letters and audio or video tapes for an archive of the area's history.
''We have such a diverse history here,'' said professor Cathy Pearce. ''We have so much material in the area, but it is so scattered. Something needs to be done.''
Pearce began working, along with anthropology professor Alan Boraas, on the history archive idea about two years ago. Last year, she brought the college's librarian, Sandy Hershberger, into the project.
They plan to use the college as a place where the public can study a variety of documents about the peninsula and its people.
College students already are using such materials for anthropology and history classes.
Part of Pearce's job is working as a liaison between the college and area historical societies. The archive is a way to help the societies preserve and publicize their materials, she said.
The Soldotna Historical Society has provided the first materials: tapes and transcriptions of interviews homesteaders Marge Mullen and Katherine Parker conducted in the 1990s with settlers of the Soldotna area. So far, 13 interviews have been transcribed, and printed copies have been put on the library shelves for patrons to check out.
The little red books in the Alaska section are the seeds of the future archive.
''It is small now, but we are hoping it will grow,'' Hershberger said.
New technology is helping to make the project feasible. It is easier than ever to copy and distribute information and the library now is able to scan pages into its computer system. Officials hope to eventually make the archive available online.
Pearce and Hershberger are encouraging people to contribute materials for the history collection. Of particular interest are materials that could help researchers, including information and stories relating to Native cultures, the Russian period, fur farming, agriculture, fisheries and hunting, Pearce said.
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