Collective Memory Project

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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. 

Your part: Do you live here? Work here? 
Choose 3 personal photos to contribute to the collection!

Two Ways to Contribute Photos:

Photo of a hand placing a piece of paper on a scanner.

Bring them to the Library
(for physical photos)

Drop your photos at the library, with one Registration Form and 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.

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Upload them online 
(for digital photos)

Share your favorite digital snapshots, Instagram pics, and flip phone photos!

Click the "upload" button to contribute three born-digital photographs to the collection. Please note that you must be at least 13 years of age to contribute.

Button with the text, "Upload Online " links to photo upload Google form. Opens in new window

Call for Volunteers! Help us make sure every person is included in the Watertown Collective Memory Project by becoming an Engagement Volunteer.

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Host a Collection Event

We know we can’t get everyone from Watertown to contribute their photos in just one day, so we are running this project all year long. If your organization would like to host a digitization day, we can bring our scanners to your location. All we require from you is an outlet to plug in the equipment and a few volunteers. Contact Outreach Librarian Marissa Monteiro to let us know you’re interested in hosting:

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Frequently Asked Questions

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!

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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.

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