Allen County Museum accepts Lima News’ archives

LIMA — Filing cabinet after filing cabinet rolled off a truck Thursday morning, carrying half a century of Lima’s history to a new home, where residents can more easily access it.

The Lima News donated its archives of news clippings, photographs and photo negatives, which date from the 1950s through the late 1990s, to the Allen County Museum on Thursday.

“We were very excited because it’s a chance to preserve our history,” said Brittany Venturella, the director of curatorial affairs for the Allen County Museum. “We have a lot of researchers who come in and, whether they’re researching local history of genealogical history, it’s nice because we have it here now.”

For years, the newspaper kept clippings of articles about noteworthy people, places and things in its archives, nicknamed the “morgue.” With a move from the newspaper’s home on Elida Road on the horizon, the newspaper started working with the museum to keep the unique archive intact, said David Trinko, editor of The Lima News.

“They always say ‘journalism is the first rough draft of history,’” Trinko said. “We wanted to make sure this amazing resource we’ve had available to us could be available to the general public. We have such a strong collaboration with the museum on our weekly ‘Reminisce’ series of historical stories, so this just made sense.”

The donation included 28 file cabinets of archived stories and photo prints, four cabinets of photograph negatives and two storage cabinets of microfilm, along with a bookshelf of binders containing discs with digital photographs.

The Lima News’ donation is about a third of the size of what the museum already had, and it’s being stored away from the museum’s location, 620 W. Market St., Lima. The storage facility is temperature-controlled and humidity-controlled.

The archive’s photo negatives, including ones from former photographer Dennis Laman from the late 1960s through the early 1990s, are particularly interesting to the museum, Venturella said.

“We’re really particularly excited about the photographs,” she said. “People can come and research with us, and we’ll be able to pull the files readily this way.”

The public can access the information with the help of the museum’s staff. On Fridays, the museum’s library is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m., and people can make appointments to visit at other times by calling 419-222-9426. It’s best to call ahead so museum staff can pull records and photographs before you arrive, Venturella said.

Venturella kept using the word “excited” as she pondered digging through the expansive archives.

“Thank you so much to The Lima News for this,” Venturella said. “You all have always been wonderful partners to us through ‘Reminisce’ and other projects. We are just so happy that we can help you preserve this history.”