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Van Sickle collection to be ready for public viewing Feb. 14

by Liz Paul

The Carson Valley Historical Society’s Van Sickle collection of early-day books and documents will open to the public on Feb. 14 at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville.

Curator of Museums Cecile Brown enlisted volunteer Bernice Gauld, a teacher and librarian by profession, to complete the labor-intensive work of redoing and updating the entire card catalog of this collection.

In April 1998, Gauld had recently arrived from her native Australia when she began volunteering at the CVHS. She was born in Queensland, but spent most of her life in Alice Springs in the northern territory and her last four years in Darwin before coming to the Carson Valley.

In September 1999, the Van Sickle collection was moved from the Douglas County Public Library because the library had just started a new construction program. The collection was moved so that conservation and catalog work could be completed. A grant from the State Historic Records Advisory Board and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission has made this research library at the Carson Valley Museum a reality.

“Scholars, students, people doing genealogy studies will find a wealth of information in this collection. The public will be able to research Nevada historical documents, oral histories, organization and club histories, World War II, Basque and other ethnic groups, mining, ranching, water issues and many more subjects relating to the Carson Valley and Nevada history,” said Brown.

Also included will be picture indexes to the society’s photograph and manuscript collections. Copies of these are available for purchase at the museum.

Also involved on this project in related activities were volunteers Gail Breckenridge and Billie Jean Rightmire, and Cindy Southerland, who worked as a contract archivist on the document collection.

In order to provide greater public access, the society will place a copy of the collection in the Douglas County Library’s Nevada Room.

“In this way, researchers can utilize the other resources of the county library at the same time as they use the collection, and at the museum, the hours of operation allow for weekend research work,” Brown said.

Use of this new library facility is free to the public, and guidelines similar to those of other research libraries in the area will be used. Assistance with policies and procedures will be found at the docent’s desk in the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Updates to the collection in the library will be found on our Web site: http://www.carsonvalleymuseums.com for people with Internet access.

The library hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.