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McKay Postcard Collection

Processing the McKay Postcard Collection was a daunting task as an intern in the Humboldt Room; the idea of numbering, following protocol for anomalies, and preparing over 3,000 postcards for patron use seemed nearly impossible to me. But slowly and steadily I worked through the boxes and boxes of old, new, black and white, and color images and took a journey up the North Coast of California. I traveled through Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Siskiyou, and Del Norte Counties. I visited places I knew well and was introduced to towns that I had never heard of and even some that no longer exist. I took a trip through time and watched the winding 101 change from dirt road to paved highway. I explored the familiar town of Arcata, where I live and go to school, change and stay the same.

With this postcard exhibit I wanted to show how places change over time as well as how places choose to portray themselves over time. I wanted to show how unique each pocket behind the Redwood Curtain is and to show my fellow HSU students that there is more to Northern California and Humboldt County than just Arcata and Eureka. To me, these postcards are documents of time, place, and popular culture.

The journey I took through time and space was a unique and rewarding one. My hope is that this collection takes others on the same voyage and enriches their lives and their understanding of this unique place.

Petra Wilkinson
May 21, 2012

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