The Digital Watauga Project is pleased to announce that it will sponsor an exhibition of the Bobby Brendell Postcard Collection at the Jones House Community Center during the month of February 2016. This free exhibition will feature more than 60 postcards from Brendell’s collection of over 400 postcards that already have been digitized by Digital Watauga.
A public reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, Feb. 5, 2015, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Jones House main gallery.
The Digital Watauga Project launched in early 2015 as a partnership between the non-profit Watauga County Historical Society and the Watauga County Public Library. It aims to permanently digitize Watauga County’s remaining visual and documentary history while building trust between the community and its surviving repositories. Digital Watauga seeks individuals, organizations, and institutions that may possess materials that document Watauga County’s history, then works with these donors to safely digitize their materials for storage on the Digital Watauga website. Access to Digital Watauga is free for everyone, and all original materials are returned to their owners after scanning. Donors retain all rights to their materials, aside from a license agreement allowing for Digital Watauga’s use of the materials.
Last June, the State Library of North Carolina awarded one of its 2015-16 LSTA EZ Digitization Grants totaling $25,000 to Digital Watauga. This non-renewable, one-year grant has been vital to the first year of digitization. In tandem with this exhibition, Digital Watauga is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help support another year of digitization work and free web access to the collections for all. This campaign can be accessed at www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/digital-watauga-project. Those interested in seeing the materials already digitized by Digital Watauga can visit digitalwatauga.omeka.net.
Collections that have already been digitized include portions of the Historic Boone Collection, the Carolina Avenue Collection, portions of the Junaluska Heritage Collection, and the Bobby Brendell Postcard Collection. The Appalachian Theatre Collection, the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Aerial Photograph Collection, and the Wilson-Norris Collection will be added by June 2016. In addition, several major private collections are slated for digitization in the 2016-17 digitization cycle.
Bobby Wayne Brendell (pronounced “BREN-duhl”) was born January 1, 1938, in Boone, NC, one of six children of John Raymond Brendell and Mabel Tilley Brendell. He attended Wake Forest College for a year before transferring to Appalachian State Teacher’s College, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Arts in Education in 1961. After teaching briefly in Chatham, Virginia, Brendell began a thirty-year career as a science teacher, coach, and assistant principal with the Moore County (NC) Public Schools in 1963. Brendell donated this extensive postcard collection to the Watauga County Historical Society (WCHS) in early 2015, shortly before his death.