SVSG and Marysvillle Historical Society nominated for 2008 Malstrom Award
February 10, 2009 · Updated 2:16 PM
The Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society and the Marysville Historical Society were two of four organizations nominated for the 2008 Malstrom Award, but they lost to a collaborative project of the Stanwood Area Historical Society and Stanwood Public Library, “Setting the Stage for ‘The Last Town on Earth’ Panel Discussion Program.”
SVGS was nominated for the reprinting and indexing of “Snohomish County in the War.”
The Marysville Historical Society was nominated for its new museum sign.
The judge was Eric Taylor, director of historic preservation for 4 Culture of King County.
Other nominees included the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association Cookbook.
The winning project included an exhibit, slide lectures and a panel discussion on local historical background of the book “The Last Town on Earth” by Thomas Mullen, which the entire Stanwood and Camano community read as part of the “Together We Read” project.
The panel discussion was held Oct. 23, 2008, at the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in Stanwood, with participants including Charles LeWarne, David Cameron, David Dilgard, Larry O’Donnell, Jack O’Donnell and Melinda Van Wingen. The author of the book, Thomas Mullen spoke as a follow-up to the panel discussion on Nov. 12.
Mullen’s novel “The Last Town on Earth” was set five miles north of Seattle and incorporated real historical events.
The history component was planned to enhance the interpretation of the book and to inspire a better understanding of history on many levels relating to labor issues, fears of epidemic, anti-war activities, suffrage, political activism and coming of age issues in contemporary times.
“The project was unique in its approach, drawing a strong connection between historical fiction and historic fact,” Taylor wrote about the project.
The project used themes from the novel as gateways for historians to explore the real past of the place described in the novel.
“The collaboration between the local library system’s reading program and the historical society’s interpretive programming strengthened the impact and broadened the project’s scope.” Taylor said.
“This project is a terrific model for other heritage organizations’ public programming and is a fine example of using a ‘good read’ to draw an audience into local history.”