NORWAY — Norway Downtown has recognized the Norway Historical Society for its contribution as “an important factor contributing to the vitality of our downtown.”

In a ceremony at this month’s meeting of Norway Downtown, President Andrea Burns presented Susan Denison, president of the Norway Historical Society, with a plaque.

“The society was surprised and honored to receive this recognition from Norway Downtown,” Denison said Wednesday. “We’re happy to contribute to the attraction of Main Street and we enjoy participating in the activities that make it special.”

In the presentation, Norway Downtown noted the society’s dedication to preserving the town’s history and its programs for local schoolchildren and the public. The presentation also lauded the society’s website, which was visited by more than 4,000 people in 2013.

The group also noted the society’s current project to inventory the entire collection of artifacts, photographs and documents of Norway’s history. The society maintains more than 350 genealogies of families with Norway connections available to researchers.

Norway Downtown also noted the society’s collections include many items that reflect Norway’s history — from Civil War-era documents to a hamburger wrapper and an iced tea spoon from Newberry’s lunch counter.

The society recently was notified it has been awarded a Conservation Assessment Program grant to review the collection and the building that houses it.

“We’ve received a grant that will allow us to hire two expert assessors,” Denison said. “One will examine our entire collection and advise us on what we need to do to properly care for it. The other will examine the building and structure from a historic building perspective and tell us what to do to preserve what’s left of its historic features.”

Denison said it will be a great help in preserving the collection and building.

“This is a big deal because we know there are many areas that need attention, but we don’t know what to do first,” she said. “Now, we’ll know whether it’s more urgent to put UV protection on the windows, provide archival storage for the 150-year-old newspapers or insulate the attic. Having these assessors’ guidance should help us get additional grants to get some of this stuff done.”

The Conservation Assessment Program is designed to assist both small museums like Norway’s and ones with much larger budgets, Denison said.

It offers a maximum of two assessors per institution. Most museums are provided a conservator to assess the museum’s collections and organizations may also be eligible for an historic structure assessment, according to information from the CAP website.

“With its Main Street presence and doors open, it is an important factor contributing to the vitality of our downtown. For that we are all grateful and wish to honor the Norway Historical Society’s Board of Directors,” Andrea Burns said in her acknowledgment of the society.

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