A Treasure Hunt Without A Map

A basement, an attic, and two old offices later, I sit amongst a sampling of Columbus Early Learning Centers’ 125 year history and preschool toys. Treasures unearthed thus far? I suppose that depends on your definition of treasure. I’ve been rather enchanted by the blocks next to my desk — just kidding! Older treasures include a scrapbook of newspaper photo clippings of the all-female leadership over the span of 30 years, a 1964 ledger from the West Side Day Nursery (as it was then known) – utilities were expensive!, and hundreds of day nursery applications from 1900-1930. That doesn’t even include the undated photos (though hair and pants styles indicate the 1970s) and Super 8 Kodachrome film. And yes, I had to Google what Super 8 Kodachrome film is, or should I say was. I’m still pondering how we might watch the three minutes of footage that Wikipedia told me is on it, assuming it has not be ruined by its time tucked away in a box.

And what am I going to do with all of these disparate items? Well, it’s only my first week, so I can’t be expected to quite know the answer to that yet. The end goal, though, is to preserve the history of Columbus Early Learning Centers and to maximize its utility for future alumni, marketing, and fundraising initiatives. So more discovery and exploration await!

Columbus Early Learning Centers have provided day care services in Central Ohio since 1887, under more than seven different names and across four locations. Now serving infants and toddlers at two locations, Columbus Early Learning Centers maintains its connection to the women who started the organization, focusing on providing the highest quality early learning environment possible. The first day nursery in 1887 was not only one of the first in the state, but also one of the first of its kind in the country. Columbus Early Learning Centers continues this trailblazing tradition today. To learn more about their work, visit their website here. And to stay updated on my summer of treasure hunting, check back here weekly.

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