Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Museum executive director Jim Weinzatl displays one of the land record abstract books available for research. Herald photos Bob KliebensteinFrom old to new. Two ancient microfilm readers and a microfiche reader will be replaced by a new digital scanner at the Tomah Area Historical Museum.

Tomah Area Museum seeks donations for digital scanner

Sometimes documenting history comes with a cost.

The Monroe County Historical Society and Monroe, Juneau, Jackson County's Genealogy Workshop joined together to assist the Tomah Area Museum's establish its genealogy area.

The Tomah Journal donated an ancient 3M 500 Reader/Printer microfilm machine and a vast microfilm collection of past Tomah newspapers on microfilm.

 Great history resource for research. But the microfilm machine was outdated, according to Tomah museum executive director Jim Weinzatl.

"The machine is broken to the extent that it cannot be repaired," Weinzatl said. "Parts are no longer available."

Local genealogist/ historian Carolyn Habelman also donated antiquated microfilm and microfiche units, a COM 150 microfiche machine and a Dukane microfilm machine. 

On the plus side, what better place to have antique equipment than a museum. Due to a recent purchase all three pieces of equipment will soon be obsolete and could be on display.

Through donations and acquisitions the museum obtained a computer, large display screen and copy machine/printer. Soon all three will be connected to a ScanPro 3000 digital microfilm scanner, recently purchased by the museum. 

That will benefit people interested in researching history with the help of microfilm Tomah Journal newspapers.

But all good things often come with a cost. In the case of ScanPro 3000, a cost of $8,550. It was recently delivered to the museum. Two boxes remain unopened until a company representative from where it was purchased visits Tomah to train museum volunteers how it's used. That is scheduled for Oct. 20.

Weinzatl said part of the delivery agreement was the unit would remain boxed until training is provided. With the scanner on site, the museum is now coordinating a fundraising mailer campaign to recoup that cost. To date nearly $2,900 has been raised from donations. Donations can range from $5 to $50 to $1,000 and over.

In the letter it is noted that microfilm machines pay for themselves through user fees and copy charges. That will be the case when the technology is available for public use at the Tomah museum, Weinzatl said.

But the museum provides more than the Tomah Journal on microfilm. Habelman donated her personal collection of land record abstract books and other genealogy books from all 50 states,. The land record books are specific only to eastern Monroe County townships, villages and other municipalities.

Once ScanPro is on line and volunteers are trained they will be able to assist the public to access the technology, Weinzatl adds.

The genealogy area is open the first and third Friday of each month, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone with questions can contact Habelman at (608) 343-8750 or Weinzatl 372- 1880. Donations can be mailed to Tomah Area Museum, 321 Superior Ave., Tomah, 54660.

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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