- Activities & Events
- Collective Memory Project
Collective Memory Project
What's your Watertown? The Watertown Free Public Library is embarking on a mission to collect photos and stories from your lifetime to preserve in our permanent digital collection. The story of Watertown lives in its people, and that means you—your family, your memories, and your experiences.
Call for Nominations: Do you, or does someone you know, have a strong connection to Watertown? Nominate them for a Collective Memory Project interview! We are looking for people who are involved in our community in all sorts of ways – as residents, volunteers, employees, friends, and neighbors – and have something to say about their life in—and connection to—Watertown. Self-nominations are encouraged!
Two Ways to Contribute Photos:
Bring them to the Library
(for physical photos)
Drop your photos at the library, with:
- One Registration Form per person
- One Contribution Form per photo
You can fill these out in advance or when you get here. We’ll scan your photos and have them ready for pickup within the week.
Collective Memory Project In the News
Share Your Photos and Stories With as Part of the Watertown Library’s Local History Project (Watertown News)
What’s your Watertown? (The Armenian Weekly) https://raidertimes.com/news/2022/03/27/collective-memory-project-at-library-is-preserving-watertowns-history/?fbclid=IwAR3_Uu6TnIbTLz3bTElR67hAWKQe-yc3O-rmAfbiQZxydRjMpBIoNRK5pL8
The Collective Memory Project is Preserving Watertown’s History (Watertown Raider Times) Facebook Social Network
Watertown Collective Memory Project Interview (Watertown Weekly News)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the library collecting photos?
History is "alive" in our memories and experiences, and the library is invested in preserving our living history for future generations. Learn more from our Local History librarian at History Ends Here? The Story of the Collective Memory Project!
What types of photos should I contribute?
Anything from local events to family memories to favorite places is worth sharing and saving! Choose photos that are meaningful and personal. They should be unique and depict something, somewhere, or someone important to you.
Need some ideas? Here are a few questions to get you thinking about what photos you would like to share:
- What is something you built here (e.g. a friendship, a garden, a club)?
- What is a place or time in Watertown that is important to you, but may be underappreciated (e.g. a restaurant, street corner, a park bench, an annual event)?
- What’s something you wish more people knew about you, your family, or Watertown?
- Someone thirty years from now wants to know how you spend your time! What do you show them?
- Lots of things change. What is something important—in your life, or in Watertown—that has changed, or is changing?
Still not sure? Share your favorite photo of yourself!
Why is there a limit to the number of photos I can contribute?
Every member of the Watertown community is invited to participate in the Watertown Collective Memory Project and contribute to the collection. That’s a lot of people! We ask that individuals choose three photos so that we have room for contributions from as many people as possible in the collection.
Can my group or organization contribute photos to the Watertown Collective Memory Project?
The Watertown Collective Memory Project is an opportunity to share and preserve personal photos that document life in Watertown. This includes the people and activities of Watertown organizations.
Every single person in our community is encouraged to identify and share some of their own photos with the project. If your organization has people, then those people should contribute photos! The best way to ensure your organization is included in the project is to help your community contribute photos.
We cannot include photos contributed on behalf of an organization, or specifically as a record of that organization, in the Watertown Collective Memory Project. However, groups and organizations are also important keepers of local and community history, and their records may have a place in the Watertown Free Public Library Local History Collection. While we cannot scan and return organizational records at this time, we encourage donations of physical materials. Visit the Local History Contribution Page to learn more!
Does my photo need to show something in Watertown?
The goal of the project is to build a digital record of our community, which is made up of people, experiences, and memories within and beyond city boundaries.
Can I contribute a photo of people?
Yes! However, we ask that you check with them first before contributing that photo to the Project. If they change their mind in the future, just let us know and we can take the photo down. Please do not submit photos of people without their permission or photos of children without the written permission of their guardians.
Check our Terms of Agreement. Still not sure? Send us an email.
What will happen to my photo?
You keep the original, and we add our copy to our new digital collection. (The new collection isn’t up yet, but you can check out our old collection.) Your photo will be part of the Local History Collection, which the library preserves as a historical resource.
The Watertown Collective Memory Project by the Watertown Free Public Library is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.