The Carver County Historical Society research library is a vast collection of maps, genealogies, newspapers, research articles, and photographs used extensively for family research. Researchers have long asked for easier access to research and photo collections, and the website redesign delivers new primary sources in a user-friendly format.
Rebuilding the website allowed the Society to reevaluate their access goals and better understand the needs of their patrons and constituents. The site redesign involved extensive member input and surveying to determine what patrons wanted to see and how they preferred to access the Society’s materials.
The collection is a leading resource for research into the people, places, events, and groups of Carver County, Minnesota, making access to these resources and collections a vital need for researchers and genealogists. A new user-friendly, responsive and adaptive site, usable on any device, provides this essential access. New online plats maps, a newspaper index, and an online photo database allow us to preserve the photos by presenting them in a safe format while still being accessible to users. The Society’s PastPerfect database is linked to the website so members can browse and research photograph collections, and historic maps combined with modern ones allow visitors to see change over time at the local level.
Collecting and preserving means not only preserving for the future but also making history available to researchers today. For those unable to visit the research library or exhibits in person, the site provides online resources and interpretation. Numerous peer-reviewed articles add historical context and online exhibit photos allow our interpretive exhibits to be shared. Online purchasing power and availability of local history books and resources also adds to the ability to share and interpret local history to an ever-expanding audience.