Volunteer and Help Dig Up The Past

In the February edition of The MBAA Communicator, I offered the idea of establishing a heritage chair within each MBAA local district. The interest shown has been limited, and the most common question asked is, “Just what are the expecta­tions in establishing and managing a district heritage chair?”
As far as expectations or responsibilities are concerned, I see a district heritage chair as being very self-directed, a do-it-yourself project, entirely up to the individual volunteer. I would imagine, though, that any volunteer would probably be the type of person who is somewhat historically minded and has an awareness, attitude, outlook, and perspective that all leans toward “heritage” and “history”. Perhaps the person likes to read history. Or perhaps the person enjoys genealogical research, already pursuing his or her own family roots and memories. Three possible areas of participation might include capturing and preserving the memories of district events, archiving district memorabilia, and maintaining a district “heri­tage tab.”
  • District Events: When attending district events, the heritage chair might be just a bit more aware of the impor­tance of ensuring that aspects of the meeting or event are captured and preserved. This might include simply ensuring that the meeting minutes captured by the district secretary/treasurer are preserved in some form. The chair might decide to be the event photographer, or at least ensure that there is a photographer.
  • Archiving: If the local district owns items of possible historical value, such as old photographs, meeting minutes, books, articles of incorporation, convention materials, brewery memorabilia, etc., perhaps the chair could be in­volved in ensuring that these items are inventoried, archived, and stored properly to minimize damage. If there are items that are privately owned or in an individual’s private collection, perhaps the chair could ensure that the items are identified, photographed, or scanned. I will be writing more about this in an upcoming Communicator.
  • Heritage Tab: The district heritage chair could assist the district web chair in establishing and maintaining a “Heri­tage Tab” on the district website. I am in the process of establishing our District Cincinnati Heritage Tab, even as I write this. It will be launched in the next few weeks or so. Ours will include an introductory statement, a brief his­tory of the district in PDF format, and occasional “presentations” of heritage items of interest…contributions and discoveries reflecting the history of our district. This presentation might include anything, old photos and letters, digital displays of certificates, articles of incorporation, antique books, diaries, historical writing, and even personal memories. Once the heritage tab is established, its maintenance is minimal. Our District Cincinnati Heritage Tab, when launched, could be used as a springboard for others to model, at least initially. And, I am certainly open to constructive criticism and suggestions!!
Once again, the district heritage chair is a position that would not have to be something complicated, overwhelming, or all-consuming. Volunteers could be minimalist, doing as little as necessary or they could be as aggressively involved as they wanted. But in this digital, iPodded, BlackBerried, over-committed, multitasking, hectic world, the deck is stacked against all things “heritage” and “history.” Establishing a district heritage chair would be an important step in ensuring MBAA’s legacy for another 125 years!
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