The Mohave County Recorder’s Office and the Mohave Museum located in Kingman have been working for the past six months to obtain grant money to help preserve a little piece of county history. “The county has been working with the museum to preserve their collection of old county maps as well as digitize them and bring them over to the county facility where they will be in a more climate controlled environment,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. “So far $6100 in grant money has been secured by the County Recorder’s Office to go towards this project,” Johnson continued.
According to Mohave County Records Managers Robert Ballard, the County’s Community Service Department, Public Works, Assessors, and Recorders Records Management have all been working together to see this project through. “This project has truly been a collaboration of effort from various departments and organizations within our community,” Ballard stated. Some of the maps in the Museum’s collection include maps dating back to the early 1900s that do not show Boulder Dam or I-40, maps of Oatman during the mining boom, and maps of lost mines and ghost towns within the county.
One of the goals of this map project is to bring the maps that are currently being housed in drawers at the Museum over to the Public Works Departments and some may be sent to the State Archives for further preservation. “We have the ability to put these maps through an encapsulation process,” Ballard stated. “The encapsulation process, similar to laminating, requires adhesive tape and plastic to compress oversized maps and papers. The process will extend the life of these historical documents so they can be enjoyed by future generations,” Ballard continued.
The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records sent specialist to Mohave County last month to train Ballard and other county employees in how to complete the process. “Encapsulation requires special training. There are hundreds of maps and instead of having to send them all off to Phoenix, we are now able to do this process in house,” Ballard explained. In regards to funding for the overall project, the county has received $6100.00 from two grants through the Arizona Historical Advisory Board (AHRAB), the Mohave Museum has provided $7800.00 and Public Works has budgeted $20,000.00 for digitizing. “We have also received staff assistance (1 employee) from Mohave County’sCommunity Services Department under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) grant program,” Ballard explained.
Digitizing the maps is another main goal of the project. “By digitizing these maps, we will be able to make them available for the general public’s use,” Supervisor Johnson stated. According to Record’s Manager Ballard, some of the maps were established prior to the mandated recording laws of the 1970s and therefor have never been formally recorded into history until now. “Once the maps are digitized, copies will be distributed to the museum, Public Works and the County Assessor,” Ballard stated.
The maps project is anticipated to be completed in the beginning of 2016. “Graphic Imaging has plans to be onsite the beginning of January. They will be giving us four weeks of onsite scanning to complete the digitizing process. They expect to scan about 350 maps a day,” Ballard stated. “By completing this project, folks researching the county’s history will have access to these maps. They won’t just be sitting in our archives, they will be able to be put to use to give us a more precise picture of the history of Mohave County,” Supervisor Johnson ended.