The newest exhibit at the Spirit of ‘76 Museum can be found on any electronics store shelf but what it contains can only be found in Wellington.
In the museum’s front window stands a 42-inch flat screen television that displays hundreds of photos dating back to the 1800s.
Local historians Scott Markel and Al Leiby organized the project.
Their years of documenting the village’s history left them with scores of photos but little room to display them.
The majority of the photos come from the Herrick Memorial Library and the museum’s collections but some also come from local family albums. Markel’s personal collection of historic photographs appears in the loop.
The photos are among the earliest of Wellington that Markel and Leiby have been able to track down.
Markel said one of his favorites is the oldest documented photo of Wellington.
“It’s a cowboy photo,” he said.
That image will be used to make the final mural of the painted series that hangs along South Main Street on the side of Farm & Home Hardware.
For the two historians, the photos offer more than something pretty to look at. They often peer deeper into the picture to see what’s in the background to discover details about life in the town.
“If you look beyond, you can get a really good idea of the history,” Markel said.
These are photos that are often stored away in dusty boxes in the corner of someone’s house, Leiby said.
Leiby has been able to use the photos as a way to connect with his ancestors.
“My family goes back a long way and I’m finding great family portraits,” he said.
The 1,200 photographs run on a three-hour loop. The television can be turned to face the museum’s sitting area so visitors can watch as each picture flicks by.
More photos can always be added to the program. Contact the museum if you have photos you to share. The phone number is 440-647-4367.
Lieby recently completed a similar project in Spencer. He digitized 480 glass slide negatives that are now on display at the Main Street Market.
Caitlyn Wasmundt may be reached at 440-647-3171 or on Twitter @LC_CaitW.