by Helen Richards
Summary: The Pittsfield Township Historical Society maintains a collection of official township records. Additionally, the Society collects, preserves, organizes, and provides access to other township-related resources, including artifacts such as this surrey (at right).
In the summer of 1998, Bob Lillie (a former Supervisor of Pittsfield Township) asked for volunteers to start work on an Archives Office for Pittsfield Township. In a locked closet in the Pittsfield Township Parks and Recreation Office were boxes of newspaper clippings, maps, copies of articles, township papers of various administration, and boxes of pictures and other files that had been held by the earlier Pittsield Historical Society. Volunteers Rose Farrell, Betty LeClair, Tina and Mary Lirones, Marcia Ticknor, and Helen Richards began the formidable task of bringing order to the various materials. Materials were separated into general topics such as companies, schools, government, farms, families, churches, agriculture, problems and miscellaneous. The general files/topics were then reviewed and further divided into specific subject files.
Two of us continue to file, clip newspaper articles, accept gifts/donations for the Society and attempt to answer questions about Pittsfield Township that may come into our office from interested parties. We have responded to various individuals and to a local business seeking photographs for their dining room (Carpenter Road Applebee's.)
We also plan and change the exhibits in the Township Hall. It was our intent initially that exhibits last about four or five months. It hasn't worked that way. We seem to change the exhibits more often. We are always looking for ideas and items for the exhibit. People seem to be very enthusiastic about the exhibits and always stop to visit with us as we dismantle an exhibit or as we are setting up a new one.
We receive about 25 or 30 newsletters from various Historical Societies in Souteast Michigan. We keep a binder in the office with 2 or 3 of the most current newsletters from each society. We update the newsletters whenever they are received.
The Society has received gifts/donations from individuals and these gifts are cataloged, assigned its own accession number, and are on display in the Archives Office. We can tell you who gave us the gift, when it was received and where it can be found. We use PAST PERFECT MUSEUM SOFTWARE from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). The software was purchased for the Society by the Historical Commission. We have a membership with the AASLH and are eligible to attend any of their seminars.
We maintain a website, which features content from the archives and other sources. The subject headings used to file clippings, photographs, and related materians in our archives is included on our website, to assist persons identify content in our collections. Much continuing effort is devoted to expanding meaningful content on the website.
At our oral history presentations we also try to supply our speakers with pictures of the buildings and areas of the township about which they speak. Our filing system is working!
If you would like to help with the archives, please call Betty LeClair (734-971-2384) or Helen Richards (734-971-2177)