Jacksonville Area Museum Seeking Volunteers To Help Organize MacMurray College Archive Collection

By Benjamin Cox on November 21, 2022 at 9:02am

The Jacksonville Area Museum is needing more volunteers to help with the MacMurray College archives.

Museum manager McKenna Servis says that parts of the archive are well kept while others were hastily put together during the college’s closure: “I only have two hands, so a lot more hands would be super helpful. Where I’m at with the collection kind of depends on the part of the archive that we are looking at. MacMurray College did have their own archivist. The archive was well taken care of. Some chunks of the archive are good to go. They are preserved the best they can be. The archivist did a really good job with it. Then, the school closed and lots of things were added to the archive unofficially. Faculty and staff just left things they thought were important.”

Servis says that she is still sifting through the latter half of the archive trying to figure out where everything belongs and doing the best to preserve everything for the long term.

Currently, MacMurray Hall houses displays from when the college opened to 1975. Servis says putting together the school’s latter history is a bit problematic: “A big problem that we faced, both the museum and the MacMurray Foundation, is just trying to find the history from 1975 on. There is lots of history through the 1990s and early 2000s, but with the college closing so abruptly, there really isn’t that late, more recent history. We don’t have it yet…2019-2020. It’s just not there.”

Servis says she just needs anyone who is interested in helping organize the museum to volunteer for a few hours each week: “There is no requirement to be a volunteer. You don’t have to have experience doing this before. We would need help moving boxes. We will need help just putting photos in photo sleeves. We’ll need help writing labels on folders, printing and putting labels on boxes. If you do come and volunteer, you will never be doing that alone. Myself or a board member will always be there with you to answer questions, so it’s definitely no pressure. You don’t need any expertise to come join us and help. You definitely don’t have to be a MacMurray graduate or a former faculty member or anything like that, but if you are, that would give me another opportunity to add to that history especially if you are recent faculty member or graduate.”

If you would like to volunteer, contact McKenna Servis at the Jacksonville Area Museum by calling (217) 408-1197 or email info@jacksonvilleareamuseum.org. The museum is located at 301 East State Street at the site of the old Jacksonville Post Office.