German Village Society sends a shout-out in gratitude to the Tom E. Dailey Foundation for investing in our historic storytelling projects. GVS was awarded $3,500 to begin Phase 4 of our program, which includes two parts: 1) adding to our archive collection; 2) further interpreting that collection in order to extend The Brickline and begin to delineate stories that will be told in our Visitors Center.

Adding To Our Archive Collection
Resident historian and author John Clark has written two books about German Village History and owns his own group tour company, German Village Tours. A passionate, self-taught historian, John’s work has built an impressive collection of artifacts, stories, photos and other items that German Village Society would like to add to our extensive collection. We anticipate that this addition will add 15-20% of data and documents to our collection.

Working with contract archivist Alan Renga, John will add his items to the existing collection order and
systems created by Alan for German Village Society in 2016-17. Sorting, ordering and labeling John’s
collection to match the work Alan has already done for GVS is estimated to take about 1,000 hours.
Alan’s prior work for GVS created policies for our archive and collections, then digitized the neighborhood’s newsletters dating 1960-2006. Renga’s work has supported the detailed preservation story research needed for The Brickline, our Visitors Center refresh and for the update of our National Register application (currently ongoing). All of these mission-critical projects are outlined in the GVS strategic plan.

Further Interpreting Our Collection
The Brickline’s initial implementation includes 12 storytelling signs placed in the right-of-way in the district. That is the tip of the iceberg. GVS’s plan is to create 30-50 more storytelling signs to more richly interpret our stories for visitors and residents. We are also currently researching a supportive app for The Brickline so that those who find deeper interest in the stories can use their smart device to learn even more, whether that is photos, historic maps, further text or one of our oral history videos featuring a German Village pioneer telling his or her own recollection of the story.

At the same time, GVS is now engaged with an architectural team to reimagine the use of our Visitors Center and building property. Since 2013, there have been three resident-populated task forces seeking to research and finalize plans to update our Visitors Center and Scheurer Board Room at the Meeting Haus. Each task force had 8 people, recruited for their particular talent or stakeholder position in the project: designer, architect, historian, maintenance, exhibits, interior design, and the like. For eight months in 2017, the third iteration of the task force finalized an RFP to engage an architectural firm and exhibits team to help us create and implement construction and design. The winning bidder happens to also be a resident – Mode Architects/Mark Ours, Principal.

The completed project will transform the German Village Society’s biggest physical asset – the Meeting Haus and Visitors Center. It is the hub of our events, the center of our community, and the place where neighbors gather to plan, advocate and celebrate. It will the significantly enhance our ability to provide interpretive programming to a broader audience incorporating the latest technology- how the redesign will enhance our ability to fulfill our mission and serve the community in more meaningful ways.
John and Alan’s work on phase 4 will help us direct stories to the physical space, medium and orientation to maximize each of these cultural interpretive opportunities.