The Rockland Historical Society received a $5,000 grant from the Knox County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to scan and catalog over 2,000 historical photographs.

The project will take one year. The scans will enable the historical society to sell prints and digital copies of images from its vast treasury of historical photographs, and the Past Perfect catalog will allow researchers to find any one image under many search terms. Researchers will be able to ask the reference librarian at the Rockland library to search the historical society’s catalog from the computer at the reference desk.

On June 20, there was a gathering at the historical society of Ann Morris, curator of Rockland Historical Society; Larry Goldman, board member of Rockland Historical Society; Gary Mercier, vice president of investment services at Boston Financial; Bob Start of FMC community relations; Dan O’Connor, librarian at Rockland Public Library; and Patty King, librarian at Rockland Public Library.

Morris showed how the scanning process would work, and everyone commented on the historic pictures as a slide show ran on the computer.

Jack Williams, senior vice president of Camden National Bank, did not attend, but Morris said he gave the historical society a challenge grant that “got this whole thing rolling.”

“He was enthusiastic about the idea that we could begin to make our huge collection of photographs available for sale, and it could produce income for the historical society.” Morris said. “And we are selling scans and we are selling prints.”

Morris said there is a lot of renovation, and property owners want to see historic photographs of their buildings.

“That helps us preserve the architectural heritage, the styles,” Morris said.

The Rockland Historical Society has several large collections of old photographs and negatives — glimpses of history — of horse-drawn wagons carrying lime to the kilns; of ships being built at the Snow Shipyard and the Cobb Butler Shipyard; of ships carrying granite from the islands to New York and Washington, D.C.; of fishermen hauling lobsters, drying fish, and mending nets; of businesses along Main Street; of railroads, schools and churches; of high school baseball teams; and of veterans of the Civil War. The photographs are used by researchers, historians, students and historic preservationists. They provide insight into Rockland’s vibrant past and an appreciation for its valuable architectural and marine heritage.

O’Connor and King, librarians at the Rockland Public Library, suggested the project to the historical society, to speed up the process of making a catalog of the historical society’s holdings available at the reference desk of the library. They will focus on the large General Photograph Collection and the Stereoscopic Collection.

Over a year ago, the Rockland Historical Society received funds and equipment from Camden National Bank, Boston Financial, FMC and other local supporters to create a scanning center, where historical photographs can be scanned, catalogued and printed. The historical society computers are networked with the library reference desk, upstairs.

The Maine Community Foundation awards community building grants to encourage nonprofit organizations to use technology to improve program delivery in ways that recognize and build on a community’s strengths and assets.