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4-H Promotion Compendium: National 4-H History Preservation Program

A National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility over the Past Century

National 4-H History Preservation Program

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In 2009 a team of volunteers, mostly retired from National 4-H Council or 4-H, Extension, USDA, created the National 4-H History Preservation Program. The program was supported by National 4-H Council and 4-H, Extension, USDA, however relied primarily on contributions to 4-H history from private individuals for their operating costs.

The program was an outgrowth of the project creating Kathleen's Room and 4-H history mural at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, plus the concern that much of the 4-H history at the national level was either being lost or discarded, or was in repositories difficult to access by the general public.

The team set about inventorying items and files stashed away at the 4-H Center, while beginning to research and write the history of well over 100 areas of targeted 4-H history. The history team started a major digitization program for both books and other printed materials and for films & A/V items. A 4-H history website was launched at:

where both the digitized materials and the 100 written sections would be placed. Other 4-H repositories around the country were identified and listed in a directory on the website. Two major grassroots programs were undertaken – 'Hands on 4-H History' offering projects and guidance on activities dealing with 4-H history at the county, community and club levels; and 'Voices of 4-H History," working with the states in developing outreach programs encouraging 4-H members to interview and document 4-H history (audio or video) from 4-H alumni and others.

Not only is the National 4-H History Preservation Program providing a valuable service to the entire 4-H Extension system, but provides an excellent example of utilizing volunteers at the national level. The visibility being generated in this history preservation program continues to grow... through the website, the monthly 4-H history newsletter, sponsorship of the history section of the National 4-H FilmFest, exhibits and displays and through a growing corps of nearly 100 other volunteers now helping with the program.

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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