The Museum of Northwest Colorado is working toward digitizing an archive of newspapers from 1945 to 1982 in an effort to better preserve that period of local history and make the records more available for research.
The museum is home to more than a century’s worth of original newspapers, containing local records of happenings and history that are often requested by different kinds of researchers.
A proposed project — earmarked in Craig’s 2023 budget for $24,000 — will digitize Craig Empire-Courier newspapers from 1945 to 1982 on to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, which is a free website provided by Colorado State Library.
The Historic Newspaper Collection already contains images of local publications from 1891 to 1945, which are optimized on the website by optical-character recognition, which makes the printed words searchable on a computer.
“It’s a game-changer to a golden era of research — we have access to newspapers during a piece of history and a part of the region where people moved around a lot,” said Paul Knowles, assistant director for the museum. “It helps connect dates in other stories that have been written and explains exactly how events went down and what dates they occurred.”
Currently, to research newspapers published after 1945, museum staff have to pull the original copies from large binders in the museum’s basement.