DEE OWENS, El Dorado County Historical Museum volunteer, left, demonstrates the history kiosk during an event at the Veterans Memorial Building in Placerville. Jerry Culver, left, and Jon McCabe check out the "Touch the Past" icons. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins


‘Touch the Past’ at the library

By From page B2 | January 08, 2014

The annual El Dorado County Historical Museum Volunteers’ Recognition Luncheon in December was livened up by a little modern technology as a 6 1/2 foot kiosk bearing the title “Touch the Past” invited people to do just that.

Wave a hand in front of one of the icons on the front of the kiosk and a video begins with a voice-over giving a historical and current perspective of each segment. The videos are set to music obtained by El Dorado County Library Director of Library Services Jeanne Amos. The segments flow seamlessly from history to modern day and back again.

Amos saw a similar kiosk in Southern California.

“I had to have one for the library,” she said. With funding from the North Net Library System, a consortium of 40-plus Northern California libraries, of which El Dorado County Library is a member, Amos set about making a kiosk happen.

“They had money for Innovation Grants this year,” said Amos. “Innovation Grants are for something new and different and unusual; something to show other libraries what can be done. We thought the kiosk would be a perfect innovation and we applied for the grant.”

The library was awarded an $11,701 grant and then Amos had to figure out how to build the kiosk.

“I didn’t know the first thing about video or how to put this together but Mary Cory found Dee Owens, one of our volunteers who is a retired teacher from Buckeye. She had made a fabulous video of John Studebaker and when I saw it, I was wowed.”

Owens used the Ken Burns technique of blending vintage photographs and present-day video and photographs to  build eight video segments about “Logging,” “Apples and Wine,” “Gold Rush,” “Then and Now,” “Recreation,” “Railroads,” “Lake Tahoe” and “Museums.”

“I do this all the time,” said Owens, who got her video start as a fourth-grade teacher, videoing her class’s theatrical productions. “That was back in the day when you edited with two VCRs.”

Owens went on to make a susquicentennial video and videos for Channel 2, the public access channel, before becoming a research volunteer and Webmaster for the El Dorado County Historical Museum.

“I love helping people locate the right research avenue and finding the answers to a mystery,” she said.

A company in New York built the kiosk but the beautiful kiosk background is from a photograph on the El Dorado County Website.

Library staff and museum volunteers wrote the scripts for each segment, vintage photos were pulled by museum volunteer Jon McCabe, voice-overs for each segment were done by museum volunteers and present day photos by Harry Critchfield were used.

The kiosk will be at the El Dorado County Historical Museum until mid-January and then it will travel to the El Dorado Hills library for a month or so before going to the Welcome Center in El Dorado Hills and then around to each of the county’s libraries in turn, allowing access to everyone in the county.

“We’ll have a reception at each hosting library,” said Amos, “to let everyone know where the kiosk can be found. We want everyone to see it and we want to demonstrate this technique of  a simple display that anyone can do.”

For more information contact the El Dorado County Library at 530-621-5540

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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