Mission marches on for society

Published 9:55 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015

Folks who pay close attention to the social media accounts of some local organizations will have noticed a flurry of activity of late coming from the account of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society.

The society’s Facebook page preceded Nikki Lorenzen, 27, becoming its first paid executive director last September. But since Lorenzen took over, the society has been posting more and more on social media, engaging all technology-savvy folks interested in Suffolk history alongside the good old newsletters it still sends to its faithful members who don’t use computers.

Lorenzen has been posting images from the society’s extensive collection of historical photographs. She’s posted photos of some three-dimensional objects in the society’s collection. She’s posted links to articles about museum practices in general to get community discussion on them.

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She also plans to make the society’s collections more accessible to the public by getting them in order and displaying them in rooms at the Phillips-Dawson House at 137 Bank St., the society’s headquarters.

All of the above is meant to get more community engagement, Lorenzen said. The more local people who know about the historical society and the resources it can provide, the more support the society will get to continue its worthwhile work of ensuring the history of Suffolk and Nansemond County does not get lost to the ravages of time.

Such history is important to preserve at least in memory and artifacts, if not in reality. Time marches on. City halls get razed and made into parking lots. Historic homes get destroyed to make way for church fellowship centers. The site where hospitals once stood gets turned into apartments and retail stores.

Whether any of these decisions was a good one is irrelevant to the work of the historical society, though some of its members certainly worked to keep those things from happening. The society will continue to catalog and preserve, to keep the memory alive, for as long as people still live in these 430 square miles that we now call Suffolk.

And capable leaders such as Nikki Lorenzen and her successors will help the society achieve that mission.