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Vision and Overview


To preserve and make 4-H history (documents and artifacts) accessible nationwide.

In close collaboration with national 4-H headquarters at USDA, National 4-H Council, State and County 4-H programs, the 4-H History Preservation Program will:

  • Prepare an annotated inventory of items currently at the National 4-H Center, including the condition, location and brief provenance;
  • Digitize documents, photographs and instructional materials; catalogue and store them in a secure place;
  • Appraise, insure and properly protect all art and artifacts, whether displayed or stored;
  • Recommend policy and guidelines for preservation and storage of 4-H history collections at local, county, state and national levels; recommend county and state history items be retained at county and state levels;
  • Recommend creation of a 4-H History Preservation Fund with annual fund-raising goals; and
  • Recommend formation of an ongoing committee to consult with National 4-H Council staff.

How It Will Work

4-H has always been a grass-roots movement, so itís important that history be preserved at the local and state levels.

Most 4-H History will be preserved locally. County groups and projects will document local impact; state archives and museums will record the significance of formal youth programs. People with 4-H artifacts should contact local or state 4-H officials to donate them.

To assure that 4-H history is preserved in a uniform way and accessible for a broad range of research and other uses, the 4-H History Preservation Program will prepare standards for digitization and protection.

The public-private partnership is clear at the national level with collaboration between USDA 4-H headquarters and National 4-H Council. This history is appropriately preserved at the national level. Funds will be needed to digitize, preserve and protect materials at the 4-H Center, the National Agricultural Library, National Archives, and other sites.

The 4-H History Preservation Program will work with Epsilon Sigma Phi, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and other national organizations to spread the word and enlist support.

How YOU Can Help

You can volunteer your time and/or money to help preserve the history of one of Americaís oldest and finest youth development movements.

  • Start a local or county 4-H History Club for members to learn the programsí history.
  • If youíre a collector, start a 4-H Collecting Club if you have artifacts or know people who do.
  • Volunteer time, money or artifacts to your County or State 4-H Museum; also see if the State Archives has a section on 4-H.
  • Start a new (or host an existing) Vintage 4-H group; get the group to take on local or state historical preservation projects.
  • Contribute money to local or state 4-H History funds; consider contributing to the National 4-H History Preservation Fund, to help finance digitization, protection and storage processes.
  • Team up with Extension professionals to sort through historical documents and determine which should be digitized, preserved and protected.
  • If youíre in the Washington, DC, area, volunteer your time to do sorting and inventory work at the National 4-H Center.

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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