The Chapel Hill Historical Society is looking for a new location for its archives, which are currently housed on the bottom floor of the Chapel Hill Public Library.
The Historical Society moved to the public library from 523 E. Franklin St. in 2015, when the Chapel Hill Town Council sold the building, Susan Brown, director of the Chapel Hill Public Library, said. The Historical Society was previously housed in the basement of the building and was the only remaining tenant, she said.
“We agreed that the Historical Society could have a temporary home for their collections and historical functions at the library,” Brown said.
Thomas Jepsen, the treasurer of the Chapel Hill Historical Society, said the society has always felt the public library was a logical space to keep the society’s archives, since many libraries have a local history room or department to assist people who want to research local history.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the public library continued to develop its community history program by planning for a Community History Lab. The lab shifted to a Community History Office, when program staff realized the need for staff and production space was greater than the need for a public collaborative space.
“Our community history program has grown at the same time that the Historical Society has been in the building,” Brown said.
Jepsen said the Chapel Hill Public Library is looking to expand its Community History Program and has asked the Historical Society to move its archives.
The Historical Society is working with local groups that have office space available, but doesn't have a specific new location in mind yet, Jepsen said.
“We would probably need 500 to 600 square feet of area to relocate our archives, and we are actively looking for that right now,” he said. “And as a nonprofit, our resources are limited, we are totally supported by our membership fees, our donations, and our book sales."