Riley Bogran of the Sandy Spring Museum kindly took the time to answer questions from Sara Brumfield of FromThePage, and discussed their project and experience using the platform.
Bogran is the Transcription Coordinator at Sandy Spring Museum.
First, tell us about your documents.
We have a large collection of historic documents related to the Quaker communities of Sandy Spring, Maryland.
In them you can find everything from the diaries and letters of various residents, to the minutes of the numerous social clubs. On FromThePage, we have a diverse series of collections to reflect these documents, and to give volunteers a sense of what the community was like.
What are your goals for the project?
With our transcription project, we want to make the breadth of history that we have digitized as accessible and searchable as possible.
There is so much knowledge to be found in these documents, and the ability to search for specific terms and phrases is such a powerful tool in unlocking that knowledge. By making the history of Sandy Spring as accessible as possible, we hope that it will allow community members and scholars to learn from the past and use that knowledge to reflect on and impact their own communities today.
How are you recruiting or finding volunteers/collaborators?
Many of our volunteers are residents of Sandy Spring, who have volunteered in the past and want to continue to do so in a COVID safe manner.
A particularly successful collaborative effort came from the Day to Serve initiative, a project that designates September 11th through October 10th as time to promote and emphasize community service projects. The congregation members of the Olney branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints participated in this event and dove into our collections headfirst, with one member reporting over 500 page edits on their own.
We’ve also collaborated with the Sandy Spring Friends School as students earn their Student Service Learning Hours by transcribing documents. We hope to engage with more schools in this way, as earning SSL hours can be a challenge while still trying to practice safe habits during the pandemic.
Can you share your experience using FromThePage?
FromThePage has been a wonderfully intuitive and smooth website to use. I only started using it in June (2020) when I started at Sandy Spring Museum, but I was able to understand its functions and dive into creating and managing collections almost immediately.
Whenever myself or any of our volunteers had any problems, the support team was so quick to respond and solve whatever the issue might be.
What would you tell folks considering a similar project?
Engagement with the community is key, and creating a welcoming and supportive network will help grow that community.
I’ve had so many wonderful conversations with volunteers about why they started transcribing, and the fun and interesting tidbits they’ve found during the process, and that passion and curiosity is what the project is meant to inspire.