Havelock is starting to build a digital record of the city’s historic ephemera and artifacts.

Havelock is starting to build a digital record of the city’s historic ephemera and artifacts.

Many of the items date back to World War II before the city was incorporated in 1959.

"We have all kinds of things that people have donated," said Diane Miller, public information officer and grants manager, who is spearheading the project. "We do have some things we found when we were cleaning out our storage. We have old photographs and things that past mayors and commissioners have taken part in and items that used to have a place on the walls of city hall. We’ll be able to keep track of our history."

Late last year, commissioners approved $3,500 for the purchase of PastPerfect software and other items to catalog items that are of historic importance to the city and the community. Some are being held by the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation and others were gathered by the former Havelock Historical Preservation Society. The society, which was taken over by the city in 2012, used to manage the historic Trader Store. The store’s contents are among those being catalogued.

Miller said the aim is to produce an online digital copy of the items to afford online access to the records, similar to what has been done at other repositories.

"There are old and fragile things that are one-of-a-kind items that if you’re looking to do research on a particular subject you can do it in a digital medium without having to further deteriorate those items. This will help us in a preservation effort as well," Miller said.

The cataloging will also help the city track donors, collect item background information in a standardized way and enable robust search functions so that items of a particular time frame or subject correlation can be easily identified in the collection.

"We’ll have an accurate record of what’s there, who gave it to us, where it is from, how was it used as well as where was it used," Miller said.

City staff spent Friday arranging one of the city’s offices with a computer to be used for data entry. The items will be stored there in proper acid free paper and folders.

Miller said that the online digital catalogue will assist scholars as well as encourage people to actually visit Havelock.

The city has a plan to move the Trader Store and the historic 1940s-era train depot from their present site on Miller Boulevard to a new property just off Slocum Creek where a recreational/historical park is planned.

Many of the items in the collection will ultimately go on display at the Trader Store later.

"Hopefully when we get it moved, it will be open on a regular basis in more of a museum type of setting,."Miller said. "We’re at the very beginning."