McCANN: Local history available online
Like so many things during this pandemic, it is hard to visit museums, attend religious events and go to sports or arts events.
On the other hand, there are a lot of arts and cultural event opportunities online both locally and as far away as Paris, France.
When this period of social distancing has passed, perhaps you can visit some of those places.
In the meantime, start by visiting the Bluegrass Heritage Museum and the Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee websites online.
Bluegrass Heritage Museum
The museum is much more interesting to visit in person. For such a small space, its exhibit space is cram-packed.
But online,(https://bgheritage.com/) there is a lot to read about and much to discover about Winchester and Clark County.
Links that you may particularly enjoy are those for black history, exhibits, genealogy, online documents and stories.
Under the black history link are articles written by Lyndon Comstock and Harry Enoch along with photos. Articles in this section concern the Rev. Henry Baker, Billy Bush, Elaine Ferris, Lyletown, Oliver School athletics, Poynterville and more.
The exhibits link allows visitors to view each room of the museum. It’s not the same as visiting in person, but it is a reasonable facsimile of a visit. The exhibit rooms photographed here are: Adams photos (pictures taken by Charles Lewis Adams during his services in the Pacific Theatre during World War II), agriculture, the Bean room, the Civil War exhibit, Clark County, the Guerrant room, the military room, the telephone room, the quilt room, The Winchester Sun photos and a virtual tour of the museum.
The online documents link is one of the most useable links on the website with access to articles by local historians Jerry Cecil and Harry Enoch, including “Bush Family Graveyard Tour” by Harry Enoch, “Early School Houses in Clark County” by Jerry Cecil and “A Tour of Places No Longer There: The Parking Lots of Winchester” by Harry Enoch.
The parking lot tour, if printed out, could provide a way to share local heritage sites with family on days when being inside seems too hard to endure for another moment. Twenty-three pages with discussion and photos of 18 local sites of buildings in Winchester and Clark County may help you get out and about for a day.
Without a doubt, one of the best links is “stories” which has four short videos: “Guys and Girls: Saturday at the Leeds,” “People Gathered at the Depot: President Truman Visits Winchester” and “Generations of Mission and Medicine.” Each video runs four minutes or less, narrated by either Clarence Bloomfield or Wallace Guerrant.
Finally, the link that is a work in progress is the one titled “genealogy,” which contains sources and information about Clark County families compiled by the late Kathryn Owens.
This is a portion of the website that might best be described as “under construction” since, as of today, it contains only information about families whose last names begin with the letters A or B — Adams to Bybee.
Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee
Not to be overlooked is the new website of The Winchester Black History and Heritage Committee (http://www.winchesterblackhistoryandheritagecommittee.org).
At this point, much of what is on this site can also be found on the site of Bluegrass Heritage Museum.
Yet, there are signs that the Black History and Heritage website is taking on a tone and substance all its own.
The Heritage Trail link provides a map of African-American heritage sites in or near downtown Winchester. You can download and print the map, and then drive (or walk) the Heritage Trail to read about the sites and people who are its subjects.
Another interesting link on this page is one titled, “Oral History.” This link is a series of interviews with Sherman Greene conducted by Jane Burnam and Harry Enoch. The interview, which runs more than three hours, is not yet posted in full, but the 15 minutes or so that are posted are certainly interesting.
It will be interesting to see this website evolve and take on its own flair in the days and weeks ahead, particularly as more of Greene’s interview is posted.
Bill McCann is a playwright, poet, flash fiction writer and teacher who writes about arts events and personalities. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.