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Port Historical Society wins state award for community service PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 20:18


    The Port Washington Historical Society has been awarded the Reuben Gold Thwaites Trophy for excellence in serving the community.
    The award, presented by the Wisconsin Historical Society, not only recognizes the role the society is playing in the community but also the fact it has restored three historic structures in the city, said Jackie Oleson, a former Society president who nominated the group for the award.
 Daily Press   “It validates what we’re doing, and that’s priceless,” she said. “It recognizes us not just for restoring buildings but also says we’re having an impact in the community.”
     The Society has moved from simply being a steward of historical documents and artifacts to a group that works to engage people in the connection between the past and the present, Oleson said.
    “Education is becoming such a part of our focus,” she said. “We don’t just have a bunch of old stuff we’re trying to keep dusted. We’re trying to use that old stuff to tell a story.”
    That’s evident at all three of the Society’s buildings — the 1860 Light Station atop St. Mary’s Hill, the Resource Center at 205 N. Franklin St. and the Exploreum at 118 N. Franklin St.
    “We’re not a single-focus group,” Oleson said. “We’ve come to a point where we are multifaceted, and hopefully going forward we’ll find different ways to tell the stories of the community that will engage people.”
    The award is also a tribute to the foresight of the Society’s founders, Oleson said.
    This was the second time the Society has been nominated for the award, Oleson said. After an unsuccessful application last year, Rick Bernstein, the district administrator, urged the Society to try again.
    The Reuben Gold Thwaites Trophy, which is named for the second director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, has been presented virtually every year since 1958.
    Two Ozaukee County groups, the Cedarburg Cultural Center and the Ozaukee County Historical Society, received the award in 1997 and 1969, respectively.