Hagerstown & Frederick Railway Historical Society to digitize artifacts collection


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — “It’s an interesting experience working with artifacts and photographs. You get a feel of how the world used to be. Each item, even if you don’t know it, has a story,” explained Reuben Moss. 

Moss is the president-elect of the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Historical Society. One of his more important responsibilities is preserving more than 1,000 artifacts that remain from the historic railway and its network that spanned 87 miles through 24 different communities between the late 1890s to the 1954.

“A lot of people just know it as the trolley and they don’t realize how integrated it was in the development of communities,” Moss said, “how important it was to bringing what we now know as the local electrical grid and the hundreds upon hundreds of people it employed.”

Moss says the collection of photographs, documents and artifacts is currently only recorded on paper and not always easily accessible for the public or researchers to view. 

Now, a $2,300 grant from the National Railway Historical Society will help digitize the collection. With the funds, the society can buy software to catalog the items.

Moss says he and members of the society will scan photos and documents in high resolution to be able to better organize them for research and to eventually put those online. They’ll also be purchasing a camcorder to not only take photos of artifacts, but also to record oral histories.

“With oral history you can have someone tell what they were feeling, what it was like, what the sounds were,” Moss said, “Different stories that would not have been documented in any written form that you otherwise would have never known happened.”

For more information on the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Historical Society, visit https://hfrhs.org/


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