Over the last few years Deani Van Pelt, Jack Beckman and others have been working on digitizing the Charlotte Mason Archive held at the Armitt Library and Museum in Ambleside, England. This project was initiated with funds from SSHRC, a Canadian federal funding agency for university-based research and graduate training in the social sciences and humanities. We have not been able to complete digitizing the entire collection because there were not enough funds to do so. Thus far thousands of images have been created, but there are many more to make.
The digitization of the archive means that each of us will have available online through Redeemer University College Library, http://www.redeemer.ca/charlotte-mason/default.aspx, all of the images from the Charlotte Mason Archive, that is, when all of the images have been taken and processed. What a privilege this is for all of us. Currently, you can click on the link above then click on search database.
Since there are many documents and artifacts left to be digitized, we need your assistance. There are two ways you can help. First, to complete this important project we need individuals (hopefully two at a time) who can self-fund a number of days, a week or whatever time is possible in Ambleside to complete the project. Second, if you are like me and cannot afford such a trip, you might be willing to give $10, $25, $50 towards sending the librarian from Redeemer, who was not a person primarily interested in Mason, but is nevertheless overseeing this huge digitization project for the library at Redeemer. She has been a gift to us all. We need to send her to England to start a round of new digitizing next spring. We have one volunteer who will be there to digitize next summer for the month of July, but it will take more time than that. If you can self-fund, contact Dr. Deani Van Pelt at firstname.lastname@example.org, the person responsible for coordinating this work. If you live in the US, you can make a tax-deductible contribution. Send it to The Charlotte Mason Education Centre, P. O. Box 7301, Boiling Springs, NC 28017.
If you are interested in self-funding a trip, there are a few criteria. First, you must be able to fund your own way. This includes travel, lodging and food. Second, it requires some basic knowledge of computer and camera use. Third, it requires the ability to handle tedious, detailed work that can get boring and tiring. Fourth, the work proceeds best with at least two people working as a team. Fifth, it requires coordination with the librarian at Redeemer who is overseeing this project. Sixth, each document must be named, the code (or name) written carefully on the document, photographed by a camera, saved to a computer, and uploaded to Redeemer University College to Marlene Powers, who is doing this work over and above her regular job. It is time consuming and detailed work. And last, there is usually one day of training from the person who precedes you.
If you are connected to a group of individuals by way of a Mason study group, blog, Yahoo group, Ning group or any other social networking whether virtual or real, please communicate this information to others, especially those who might be willing to help. I ask that you pass this information on to anyone who might be interested in assisting with this project either through self-funding a trip or sending a donation.
For anyone who can self-fund, not only will you have the opportunity to help with a valuable project, but you will also be staying in the area where William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and other well-known individuals lived. Further, as the pictures suggest, it is a beautiful place to visit. There is hiking, walking among Roman ruins; and it is not far from Scotland. If you would like more information from someone who has assisted with this project and made this trip, please contact Gladys Schaefer at email@example.com. Because the library opens at 9 or 10:00 a.m. in the morning and closes at 5:00 p.m. there is some time for sightseeing.
Let me thank you for even considering this project whether you can self-fund or donate funds, and for passing the word on to individuals you believe can help. Your help will be a wonderful gift to the Mason education community. As we seek to change education to create homeschools and schools where children can learn and flourish, you will be assisting in a slow change process that is much needed in education everywhere. As Mason reminded us it is “for the children’s sake.”
Thanks to all of you and I look forward to hearing from you,