It took more than five years of cutting, taping and standing over copy machines, but the members of a genealogy group based at Dakota City Heritage Village are ready to show off the work they have done to preserve stories of Dakota County's past.
The group has worked over the years to copy and recreate several scrapbooks it has received as donations. Now, they will share the results of their work with visitors to the Dakota County Fair. The books will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in the Dakota City Museum.
Some of the scrapbooks, donated by group members or others in the community, date back as far as the 1920s. Others have articles about local men and women fighting in World War II.
"Some of the people that belong to the genealogy group had scrapbooks that belonged to their parents and grandparents," said Austa Harmer, the leader of the genealogy group.
The Dakota City Genealogy Group has had some of the books for years. They would take them out and look through them if there was no other pressing business at their regular meetings. But some of the books were falling apart. They had to be handled with care, and there was no way they could ever be shown to the general public. This project changes that. Gone are tattered old news clippings about weddings or obituaries. They've been replaced by crisp white copies on archival paper. Pages are covered in plastic to help preserve them.
"They're good forever," Harmer said.
Harmer said the copying project helped preserve important pieces of Dakota County history. They are of particular interest to people who have lived in the area for a long time.
"I grew up in this town, so a lot of the items, if I knew the people I would read the article," Harmer said. "It took us a long time, because we wanted to stop and read every scrapbook."
The genealogy group finished its copying project nearly a year ago, but there was no good way to share the work with the public. The fair provides that opportunity.
The genealogy group is still accepting donations of scrapbooks. Anyone with something to donate can call Dakota City at 651-460-8050.