By Anna DeWine
XENIA — Greene County Records & Archives has been busy celebrating its 20th anniversary this month — and getting the public to celebrate, too.
The party continued last week as the organization opened its doors for an open house Wednesday.
Exhibits were on display throughout the archives, showcasing historical records including an antique suitcase full of family photos and a former archivist’s passport, an 1853 map of Greene County and surveyor records, and case records from Greene County Probate Court.
The 1901 Time Capsule was also open for display.
In addition to perusing the visible records and articles throughout the building, visitors had the opportunity to watch an oral history interview of Former Greene County Archivist Gillian Hill and even participate in a records scavenger hunt.
State Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) attended the event, presenting a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives to Hill and current Greene County Archivist Robin Heise. The award was presented to records and archives for winning the 2016 National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators Program Excellence Award.
“I think a lot of people sell it short — maybe they don’t sell it short, but they just don’t recognize how important archives are, how important it is to save the documents of the past,” Perales said as he presented the award.
Before the records were stored at 535 Ledbetter Rd., they lived at 140 E. Main St. And before that, in department basements and the courthouse clock tower.
Greene County Archives — and its archivist — didn’t exist until 1996. Once the county commissioners decided to create the position, Hill and her assistant began rescuing dusty documents from their dark hiding places.
The first archives building held its own history, not just the full boxes that lined its shelves. Once a grocery warehouse, a stable, an advertising agency, and an automobile parts store, the building changed over time, continuously serving the county.
The building slowly deteriorated, until staff evacuated and moved the records to the current location in 2012.
October is American Archives Month, and the celebration continues with the Archives Crawl. Crawlers are encouraged to visit as many repositories as possible until the end of the month, earning prizes via passport stamps.