Native son Carson Roberts is historical society’s first “director of digital history,” enhancing our offerings

By CHUCK OFFENBURGER

JEFFERSON, Iowa, June 17, 2021 — The Greene County Iowa Historical Society has recently added Carson Roberts, a 25-year-old graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School and Iowa State University, as the organization’s first “director of digital history.”

Roberts, who will be a part-time paid employee, will lead the society into expanded services on the internet, more use of social media, increasing the group’s video production and organizing our video archives for easy access. At Iowa State, he majored in management information systems. He worked four years while a student in ISU Extension’s information technology department, and the past three years he’s been part of the four-person IT team of the Dallas Center-Grimes Community Schools.

“Director of digital history? I like that title, it sounds really cool,” Roberts said of his new job. “I’m looking forward to helping tell the stories of our local history.  When you think about it, it’s really important.  What has happened here in earlier times kind of shapes the way people grow up here today.

Carson Roberts in the small office of the Greene County Historical Museum.

“It seems to me that a lot of our local history here is rural history, and it’s not told very often,” Roberts continued. “You don’t hear much about it in school. We have to spread out our wings, use the technology we have available today, and tell more people about it.”

Doing more with video has been a primary goal of current historical society president David John.

“We’re glad to have Carson on board and glad to have his help in moving the museum into the digital age,” John said.  “We look forward to making our historical society archives more accessible to the public. We would like to do more interviews to expand our oral histories.

“Moving into the digital age will help the historical society and the museum, with existing videotaped programs and future programs, easily available to a wider audience in the community and beyond,” John continued. “We hope, as a historical society, to be more interactive with and relevant to the community, via various media.”

Roger Aegerter, executive director of the historical society, watched Roberts grow up in Jefferson, knew of his talents with information technology, and earlier hired the young man to do some work on websites Aegerter supervises.

He learned recently that Roberts had left his job with the Dallas Center-Grimes Community Schools and was considering moving to Minneapolis, hopefully to work with a larger firm.  However, Roberts was also considering staying in Greene County and trying to find enough IT work to sustain himself.

About the same time, Rob Hoyt, of Scranton, whose IT company is Impact Media Live, and who created the historical society’s current website in 2016, informed the society he is moving on from website work.  Aegerter visited with Roberts about taking over the historical society’s work, and, after a formal interview for the job, Roberts was hired.

Aegerter saw the opportunity not only to find a good replacement for Hoyt on the group’s website work, but also having someone who has time to handle expanded online and video offerings. And there was another appealing element in hiring Roberts.

“There are many things that small towns need to survive in the future,” Aegerter said. “One is the ability to access and utilize technology, the other is to keep and attract young people to contribute to the local economy and lifestyle.

“I am always excited to hear that a Greene County graduate has decided to stay in the area or bring their talents and energy back to the county,” Aegerter continued. “I am also excited when I find someone that has expertise in any form of technology. I am hoping that Carson can gain a foothold in the community – his community – and give all of us technology underachievers a valuable resource.”

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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

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There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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