By Barrett Seaman—
The Irvington Historical Society (IHS) has been awarded a $5,000 grant by the Museum Association of New York (MANY) in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to be used to upgrade the Society’s computer system. The money will go towards the purchase and installation of three Dell laptops, a desktop, a 24” monitor, a laser printer, software upgrades and installation costs. The total bill is estimated to run just under $8,000, but the Society says that members of its board have pledged to make up the difference.
The upgrade will help the Society to keep up electronically with recent successes in attracting new members and participants in its programming. During the pandemic, the IHS pivoted from strictly in-person monthly programs to Zoom presentations and webinars that expanded its audience significantly, garnering a list of some 1,500 email addresses and names.
It also presents exhibits at its McVickar House headquarters near the top of Main Street, sponsors school programs and publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Roost. In recent months, the society has enhanced its use of social media and begun to stock its web site with recordings of on-line lectures and live-streamed events, personal reminiscences of the early months of the pandemic and early editions of The Roost. “As a result of this expansion,” says board member Chet Kerr, “we are getting an increasing number of requests for information and queries about how our collections can best be accessed.”
Founded 50 years ago, the Irvington Historical Society has grown its membership to 420—a number its Board hopes will continue to increase after the new information technology comes on line.