IO Urbana Free Library Archives Bazaar

Raffle prizes for the Archives Bazaar include a canvas tote bag from The Urbana Free Library, local history books, a family history starter kit from Gaylord Archival and other items from participating organizations.

October is a big month for archives. It is American Archives Month, Family History Month and, here in Illinois, it is even Illinois Archives Month.

If you have been following this weekly column, you have begun to the see the wealth of museums, archives and other cultural heritage institutions we have available to us here in Champaign County.

The Champaign County Historical Archives at The Urbana Free Library began celebrating this wealth three years ago when we hosted our first Archives Bazaar. Our third annual Archives Bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Urbana Free Library.

What is an Archives Bazaar? It is a chance for us to gather different cultural heritage groups from across the county into one space to increase the community’s awareness of all the wonderful institutions we have access to.

Each group has a table with exhibits, artifacts and a friendly archivist, curator or local historian available to answer your questions, such as: How do I preserve my personal collections? How can I start researching my family history? How can I record a conversation with a loved one? Or perhaps you have questions about the local history of Champaign-Urbana and Champaign County.

To answer your questions and showcase their collections, we have the Champaign County Genealogical Society; Champaign County Historical Archives; Champaign County History Museum; History Harvest at the University of Illinois; Independent Media Center Zine Library and Archives; Kent Tucker, a private Lincoln collector; Museum of the Grand Prairie; Rantoul Historical Society; and UI Student Life &Culture Archives.

This year, we are collaborating with the UI History Department and others to support their History Harvest project. Historians and students are creating a space for you to record your stories, photos, letters, documents and memorabilia of events that have transformed the urban spaces of Champaign-Urbana over the years.

The students will be available from 10 a.m. to noon at the Archives Bazaar to answer questions about the project and create digital copies of items. The digital copies will then be included in an online archive that will be available to the public. Their main event will be held later that afternoon from 1 to 5 on the second floor of the MTD Terminal, 45 E. University Ave., C.

We hope that you will come out to the Archives Bazaar, enter our raffle for a tote bag full of local history and genealogy books and supplies, listen to some music courtesy of the Folk & Roots Festival, which will be hosting several free, family friendly performances in the library throughout the day and experience all the diverse resources and history Champaign County has to offer.

Sherrie Bowser is an archives librarian at the Champaign County Historical Archives at The Urbana Free Library.