NewsLocal News


Government shutdown delays grants for Jackson County Historical Society

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 19:51:21-05

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The government shutdown is impacting the Jackson County Historical Society in ways they didn't anticipate.

"We house and preserve all manners of documents pertaining to Jackson County history. We have abstracts, land deeds, diaries, bibles, you name it," said executive director Caitlin Eckard.

Preserving history is vital. The archives are packed with documents and no where to catalog them. Right now many of the documents are rolled up because there isn't enough space to store them flattened, which is the best way to preserve historical papers.

"People always ask for blueprints and right now they're inaccessible because we know what we have, but we can't let researchers come look at them until we've properly preserved and cataloged them and put them away so they're around for another 100 years," said Eckard.

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of Humanities would help the historical society purchase a new filing system, but Eckard can't log on to the site due to the shutdown. Grant applications are due January 31.

They also need a $5,000 grant through Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area to help them update exhibits at the 1859 Jail Museum in Independence Square. Freedom's Frontier receives funding through the National Park Service, which is not operational.

Now they'll have to wait another year to apply because they'll have missed the time frame. Eckard hopes the institutions will extend its deadlines.

"It will affect our event planning for sure, because most of our grant money comes for programming, educational events, things like that. So it will affect what we can go out and do in the community," Eckard said.

Around 300 people a year come to the historical society to do research. Executive Director Caitlin Eckard said more people are becoming interested in the abundance of history in the county.

While the shutdown may not close the historical society's doors, it's another facet of our community Eckard said people don't think about.

"It's honestly priceless," she said.