When the Escondido History Center, located in Grape Day Park, opened its doors in 1956, volunteers began working diligently to gather, catalogue, and record photographs, documents, artifacts, and other ephemera relevant to our city’s rich history.
Since that time, the EHC has managed to collect over 10,000 photographs and negatives, reams of archival material, and well over 5000 artifacts, many of which we display in the Victorian Country Home and Santa Fe Depot; however, with such an extensive collection there are limits as to what the museum can exhibit at any given time.
According to executive director Stacey Ellison, “Visitors and researchers often request to see photographs pertaining to a particular subject or period and our industrious staff searches through our collection for relevant material. In a digital age, this approach seems rather antiquated.
“We decided we wanted our collection to be accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time and we began digitizing (scanning) our vast collection of photographs. To date, our staff and a small group of student volunteers from Escondido High School have scanned a little over 1,500 photographs and negatives and uploaded the collection to our webpage.
“While this is very exciting and opens the door to a much broader audience, we also recognized that many of the photographs have very little information attached to them. Unfortunately, over the past sixty years, some information about people, places, and events in our photographs has simply gone missing, if it ever existed at all! Therefore, the Escondido History Center is reaching out to the community to help us rediscover the stories behind our collection.”
The history center is inviting the public to browse its collection at http:// escondidohistory.com/#!collection and send your feedback.
Ellison added, “Review the photos, descriptions, and any attached names; let us know if you recognize someone. Perhaps you recall an event or can tell us a story about the photograph we may not know! We welcome your feedback and participation. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Please make sure to note the photo ID number in the subject line of the email! If you are passionate about history and would be interested in becoming a volunteer and helping with our digitization project, let us know as we would love to have you. In addition, we encourage you to check the website frequently as we add photographs weekly and monthly. As we progress through the photographs, we will begin adding archival material and artifacts to our online collection. Your involvement means you have the opportunity to touch history and contribute to an exciting project!”
There is a lot to see at the Escondido History Center. The staff and volunteers invite you to come down to the park and spend some time in the Victorian Country House and the Santa Fe Depot. Escondido’s history is inextricably intertwined with the broader history of San Diego County and California. Come find out more about your place in history!
The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Our museum office, located in Escondido’s original library, is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.escondidohistory.org
Contact the history center by phone at 760-743-8207 or email email@example.com