In December 2017, the Museum received a generous five-year grant from the Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation to make the Museum’s collections more interactive and accessible for its members and visitors. In 2018, the first year of the grant, the Museum chose several thousand images and hundreds of historical documents from our archives that were then professionally scanned. Beginning this summer, curated selections from these images and documents will be posted on a new Museum “Exhibits” webpage. At the start of the summer season, the link to the new “Exhibits” site will be published on fishersisland.net and on fergusonmuseum.org.
The first group of featured images to be posted online will be a selection from the late Charlie Ferguson’s daybooks that date from the mid-1970s to the mid-2010s. New groups of digitized images and documents covering varying subjects will be added at intervals. Stories announcing and describing each release of new content will be posted to allow people interested in given topics to follow up.
For 2019, the second year of the grant, the Museum has hired a professional videographer to record and edit videos of many of Director Pierce Rafferty’s past PowerPoint lectures. The illustrated presentations cover a variety of Fishers Island topics. Titles include: “History of Brickmaking on Fishers Island,” “Race Rock Lighthouse,” Captain T.A. Scott: Legendary Master Diver, Builder and Wrecker,” “Fishers Island Ferries Over Time,” “The Rise and Fall of Hotels on Fishers Island,” and the humorous “Public Relations: 250 Years of Outside Views of Fishers Island.”
A parallel project in progress is the creation of virtual exhibits for display on kiosks that will allow the viewer to scroll through visuals with matching captions from past annual exhibitions dating back to the early 2000s. Core information about the history of the island will be rescued from dead stor-age and presented in an easily explorable format.
The Museum would like to acknowledge and thank Ben Gray and the Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation for their thoughtful, forward-looking grant. When fully implemented, it will continue to give back to the Island community for many years to come.