A Critical Role for America’s Credit Union Museum

The stay-at-home pandemic induced isolation has caused many to clean out years of storage.  And find forgotten keepsakes, even treasures.

I discovered two complete copies of the July 21, 1969 Boston Globe, with the headline: Man Walks on the Moon.  The half page black and white fuzzy photo was printed right below.

What should I do with them?  Who might find them uniquely useful for instruction or other use? Should they just be put in this week’s recycle bin along with this week’s papers?

In a nutshell this illustrates  an issue every credit union professional will confront in the twilight of their career.  What to do with all the records, memorabilia, recordings and  newsletters one kept of their professional years?

The emotional meaning and possible historical value that caused them to be set aside, will not matter to one’s heirs.  When downsizing, the easiest thing to do with these basement or garage-stored boxes  is to just throw them out.

But might these individual and industry documents, newsletters, and recordings be valuable to future researchers seeking first hand accounts of credit union history and critical events?

Without an ability to easily access historical records–both public documents and private collections–the movement can lose touch with its past.  Most importantly personal records can help future generations appreciate the “human capital” that laid he foundation for today’s system.

One CEO’s View Why History Matters

“I wish I had kept the phone numbers and emails of CEOs that are now gone from view. Ex-CEOs that could tell what they wished they had done when they faced downward curves to the end. I worry that lessons lost and archived outside our industry are what is needed now.

Some might say that we missed nothing; we witnessed progress and the natural march towards an industry’s maturation. But that sounds like short-term winners talking to me.”

Randy Karnes, CEO CU*Answers, February 2018

This valuable, vital role is one the Credit Union Museum is expanding through its archiving and library functions.  This effort warrants everyone’s support, especially those wondering what to do with their personal archives.


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