The Collection's catalog is online! It is now possible to search the Collection at the item level for the first time. Visitors to the site, powered by the Past Perfect museum software, can choose to browse items in the Collection, bring up random records, or research the Collection's holdings through powerful search tools.
Over 1500 records were added to the catalog for its initial launch, and more are being added on a regular basis. This is just a fraction of the many thousands of items in the Collection, but it allows researchers to access the Collection's holdings in unprecedented detail.
"What we have online so far is only a small part of the whole Collection" says Collection Coordinator James Myall. "Many of our best images were selected for the initial upload,but we'll be adding new items on a regular basis. We have a small team of volunteers and students digitizing new material weekly."
The current online offerings include records from the many parts of the Collection - its rare book library, archival materials, photographs and artefacts. New additions to the catalog will focus first on the Collection's photographs, of which more than 600 are currently available for viewing. Some highlights that are currently viewable include images of:
- Construction of the first St Dominic's Arena in Lewiston and the fire that destroyed it
- Snowshoeing parades and races
- Postcards and stereographs of Lewiston-Auburn buildings and scenes
- The construction and interior of SS Peter & Paul Church and of members of the Dominican Order in Lewiston.
The online catalog will be of interest to those researching local history, since many Lewiston-Auburn sites and buildings are represented, as well as important events like the New Auburn Fire, the Androscoggin Flood of 1936 and World War 2.
Family researchers will appreciate the indexing of records by individuals' names. Some 850 people are represented in the catalog for its launch. Many are local Franco-Americans, but non-Francos also appear, as do notable individuals from around the world - from Muhammad Ali to Margaret Chase-Smith and Pope Pius IX.
Visitors to the site have the option of e-mailing the Collection for more information about a particular item, adding their own feedback, or of ordering a reprint of a particular photograph.