EDITORIAL: Washington County Museum sign project an important effort

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Reminders of Washington County cities' history are everywhere.

Some are more obvious and more celebrated than others but each one matters and deserves to be highlighted. The Washington County Museum is hoping to do just that by placing signs on historic buildings throughout several of the county communities. These signs will be placed in front of the building and contain information and history of the building's past and present.

This is a commendable effort by the museum because buildings often change ownership and appearance many times throughout their history. Those buildings held some of the earliest businesses and families of the community and played a major role in where they are today. Chances are if you didn't grow up in a building's early days, you wouldn't know the full history without reading a book or digging up information yourself. These plaques will provide easy, accessible information and provide context to the building's past.

To make this effort successful, however, requires several moving parts. The first of which was the initiative by the museum to acknowledge the project as important to the community. They've spent countless hours receiving approval from the various communities, researching the buildings and finding funding for the project.

The next piece is those that have provided funding so far. According to the museum, the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the Washington County Community Foundation and several of the cities and villages have pitched in grants. That shows that the project is recognized as viable from both an historical and tourism standpoint.

The third part of the puzzle is the businesses that have been asked to participate. Letters have been sent to businesses or buildings identified as key pieces of the effort. They are given the choice of whether to participate or not and it's made clear in the letter they are not to feel obligated. However, we would strongly encourage anyone who receives a letter to at least consider it. You would play a valuable role in preserving and celebrating community history and provide an additional attraction in town.

The final piece is for people to simply visit these buildings once the project is complete. After all, history is best passed along through stories and written records, so why not be one another source?

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