The town of Bellmore, which can trace its beginnings back to 1643, was a farming and fishing town until fairly recently in its history. Known as both Newbridge and Smithville South, the town officially became Bellmore in 1900 when the post office was established. The busy Long Island Railroad station in the center of town made Bellmore a “commuter’s paradise” in the 1920s and the population began to grow significantly. In the midst of residential growth, however, there were still active farms as late as the 1960s. Bellmore is now a vibrant suburb; home to various schools, houses of worship, and civic organizations. It is the gateway to Long Island’s beautiful beaches, parks, and major roadways.
The Bellmore Historical Association (BHA) is a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores, the Bellmore Memorial Library, and the North Bellmore Public Library formed in 2015. We are working hard to preserve, catalog and digitize hundreds of photographs, slides, maps, and other objects in our respective collections. Our ultimate goal is to provide the community access to these treasures via digital platforms as well as displays and presentations for the public. Our next steps are to:
Stop the damage – the library is investing in archival (acid-free) folders, liner papers, photo sleeves, boxes, and poster tubes in order to house the collection; we hope this will prevent any further deterioration of the many delicate items. We are also removing staples, paper clips and other metal fasteners from all of the materials to prevent additional damage from rust. We will be wearing archival gloves while working with artifacts and, in the future, the public will be asked to wear gloves when handling any of the items. We intend to consult with local archivists regarding repairing and/or cleaning some of the artifacts.
Organize – the items we’ve inherited from various societies, defunct newspapers and donations. All future donations will be organized according to archiving conventions. Library staff will create pathfinders for different collections to make identifying the contents of storage boxes straightforward.
Digitize the collection – this entails scanning all original photographs and slides as well as taking pictures of the realia (objects and materials from everyday life) while employing logical naming conventions for the images. We will then have to identify the best way to store the files in order to make them accessible via the library’s web site and other online collections.
Accessibility – we will be assigning searchable keyword descriptors to each image in order to make the digital collection highly accessible to the public. Our plans are to use ContentDM software in order to be able to share our images with the “Long Island Memories” project supported by the Long Island Libraries Resources Council in conjunction with New York Heritage Digital Collections.