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Thank You, Ridgefield Thrift Shop!

Thanks to the generosity of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop, the Ridgefield Historical Society is embarking on a technology upgrade, updating equipment and systems best left in the past.

As many of us involved with not-for-profit organizations know, there is plenty of work to go around! Interesting and important work, yes, but boundless in its possibilities. For this reason, extra hands and good tools are essential to getting the job done.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Ridgefield Thrift Shop, the Ridgefield Historical Society is now able to upgrade several components of our technology equipment, allowing our staff and volunteers to better do their jobs and fulfill the mission of capturing, preserving, and sharing the history of Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Technology and History — An Important Combination

The grant was prepared by a Historical Society Board team including Board president Tracy Seem; Kevin Julier, Jason Zides, and Gary Singer, who compose the Board’s Technology team, along with Sally Sanders, Board Member, and Betsy Reid, Collections Manager.

Kevin Julier, now retired from IBM following a career in Information Technology and Computer Software, and Jason Zides, an Educational Technology Specialist, both love history but they are equally motivated by leveraging technology to “get things done.”

“The history-related work that we do here is very important,” says Kevin, “but, technologically, we can’t live in the past. We have to work intelligently, capture and record history as efficiently and effectively as we can and then make that history available to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. Technology, media, etc. that were used yesterday have quickly become obsolete, so we need to be flexible, forward-thinking, technologically savvy, and user friendly.”

Jason agrees. “How we present history externally is critically important, as audiences grow and evolve, but the effort starts within. Internal efficiency and thoughtful use of technology will allow us to be more creative and flexible externally and to reach people of all ages and abilities. This gift from the Ridgefield Thrift Shop will make a big difference to our operational abilities, and to the preservation of Ridgefield history.”

What the Ridgefield Thrift Shop Grant Will Allow Us to Do

Step One is replacing the internal team’s antiquated computer equipment, which is slow and difficult to integrate with modern printers and scanners, with all-in-one desktop PC systems which operate at modern speeds and with fast, reliable connectivity. The grant will also allow for the upgrade of the WIFI network within Scott House building as well as the purchase of two laptop PCs which can be used anywhere in Scott House, including the archive below the building, which will be particularly valuable for Collections-related work.

Step Two is acquiring a photo scanner — allowing for the scanning and subsequent sharing — of large photographic negatives and slides, larger documents, newspapers, and other print artifacts that can be made available through the organization’s website. Beyond those expenditures, the Historical Society is researching technology and equipment that will allow us to expand our reach even further.

“Investing in technology isn’t always the most glamorous of choices,” says Tracy Seem, president of the Board of the Ridgefield Historical Society, “but we are extremely grateful to the Ridgefield Thrift Shop for understanding the importance of this commitment. It will allow us to further touch the lives of Ridgefielders, and it will make our staff members’ lives significantly more satisfying. Antiquity is profound, but not in your workplace technology.”


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