Share Your Unique Story in the Permanent Public Gallery

Emily Sienkiewicz

May 14, 2024
Share your unique story in the Permanent Public Gallery

Publishing materials helps ensure that you are remembered for who you are.

During March of 2024 we ran the first cohort of our Legacy Lab program. The program was designed to help our members get started by giving them step-by-step instructions on how to tell a single story using our platform, resulting in several new public archives in the Permanent Public Gallery.

The Permanent Public Gallery is how we celebrate the power of personal stories and the impact they can have on future generations. The Permanent Gallery is our mission realized, as the rich collection of public archives creates numerous opportunities for people to educate themselves and learn about our broad historical past. When you publish your materials in the gallery and create a public profile, you have control over how you will be remembered. Use this opportunity to tell the story of your life’s work, passions, and joys to ensure that these details are not lost with the passage of time, all while securing their place in the historical narrative. Your rich and diverse contributions to the gallery make it possible for us to meet our mission.

You can share your story by publishing your own public archive. Several of our Legacy Lab participants graciously made their archives available on the Public Gallery, which we are proud to feature below. 

Featured archives

Common Thread—Moving West

Family around old car
Hupmobile Ready to Roll – Leaving Nelson, Nebraska for California

Linda Hax, one of our Legacy Lab graduates, created an archive to capture the stories of migration within her family. In 1922, her grandfather and his family moved west from Kansas City, MO to California on advice from their family doctor. Linda shared that this move across the country in search of a warmer climate for health reasons meant they had to leave behind “their home, employment, oldest daughter, and extended family.” The journey there wasn’t any easier. The family traveled in a 1921 Hupmobile in a time before highways or paved roads, and made it to Lemon Grove, California where Linda shares that her grandfather lived “another 25 years.” Linda finds great inspiration from watching programs like “Finding Your Roots” where people discover the forgotten lives of their ancestors. She wrote that she “never cease[s] to be amazed at how fascinating episodes from a family’s history disappear quickly from the narrative and memories as generations go about their daily lives.” Through her public archive that tells the story of her family’s migration, Linda ensures that their stories won’t disappear.

The Brodie von Wettberg Smith and Cowles Family Archive

Bride and Groom at wedding reception, smiling
Janet and Ted at bridal table during reception at Dupont Country Club

Legacy Lab graduate Laura Cowles Hobbs decided to use her time during the program to tell the story of her parents’ 1959 engagement and 1960 wedding. After losing both of her parents at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura explains she chose to work with their materials as a way to “honor and remember them” and their “long and happy marriage which lasted just short of 60 years.” The process opened up an opportunity for Laura to reach out to others who knew her parents and the love they shared. Laura wrote, “I have shared the archive with over twenty friends and family. I learned more information about their wedding day. A friend of the family told me that her mother hosted the bridesmaids luncheon prior to the wedding. A cousin who attended remembered that her family forgot to bring her suitcase for the weekend trip; she was glad to have worn her dress in the car for the special day. Another cousin remembers everyone enjoying themselves at the reception.” Through her Legacy Lab research, Laura was able to connect with her larger network to gain information for her archive, sparking conversations that allowed her to connect even further with the memory of her parents. She hopes that her experience inspires others and teaches them that “there is benefit from talking to others about the treasured photographs and documents.”

The Haadsma Dairy Archive

Man standing by the Haadsma Dairy truck, a boy in a bicycle has stopped to talk to him
Haadsma Dairy Truck

Sue Haadsma-Svensson, another Legacy Lab graduate, shared with us “The Haadsma Dairy Archive” that details the history of the dairy that her grandfather, Nick Haadsma, helped create as a teenager in 1915. The archive features photos of her relatives working at the dairy, some of the fun bottlecaps they used, and other memorabilia and documentation related to the business. Sue knew that with Legacy Lab, she “wanted to work on a project that was manageable in size and that meant a lot to [her].” It can be overwhelming to tell a story, but the direction of the program helped her tell the story of the family business that her grandfather created and that her father and uncle helped continue. While she notes that she is “sad [she] never got to talk with [her grandfather] about his story and learn more about the Haadsma Dairy,” Sue hopes that the archive of the information she collected will ensure that the legacy he started won’t be forgotten. 

Join us on the Permanent Public Gallery

So, come and be a part of this journey with us. Publish the stories you want to share with the world, explore others’ stories, and together, let’s create a dynamic, ever-evolving narrative in the Permanent Public Gallery. Because at, every member can tell their own story, every story matters, and the past is a gift we give to the future.