So as my group members have posted recently we have found a tremendous amount of information for our project. Recently we have visited both the Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg and the Heritage Center. Both had their ups and downs when it actually came to our research. Nonetheless we continue to find valuable material that will be vital to our website.
First, the Masonic Lodge was interesting to say the least. I have never really looked into the organization, but now I feel as if I am expert after spending an hour and half learning the ins and outs of the group. As for our research the lodge did not have anything that was truly worth putting in the project. However, the archivist for the lodge was not there when we visited, so hopefully when they return they can push us in the right direction if there is any material to work with. I have not fully given up on the lodge, but its beginning to look more like a dead end.
Second, the Heritage Center was almost a complete success. When I say almost I mean there was an exciting and overwhelming amount of material to work with, but there are a few issues with the center. For one its expensive: $2.00 for a digital copy, for example. Then after that if you want to publish any material from the center you must go back and gain permission first rather than placing an acknowledgement for the source. Instead we have resorted to the old school way of writing out all of our discoveries. One specific resource I worked with was a day to day diary from a family man in Fredericksburg throughout the war. He discusses everything from the birth of his children to war being fought in Europe. It was one of the best find we could possibly have because it can act as a great timeline for events throughout the war. I wish we could publish the diary on our site so individuals could flip through the diary themselves, but that would cost way to much money for the site. I have already created a basic timeline of the diary, but it is nothing compared to the original.
I beg UMW to purchase the archive so that history majors such as myself in the future can have access to endless amount of material from the area. I am a firm believer in open access and the Creative Commons and I wish we could have complete access to this information as students. I wish more people had faith in college students when it comes to undergraduate research. We are not coming to your archive to destroy, but to spread knowledge and information to the public and the education community.