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Bassett Historical Center awarded Harvest PUP! grant

The Bassett Historical Center received a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant from The Harvest Foundation to help the center ramp up its service and technology. Pictured from left are Fran Snead and Pat Ross from the center, and DeWitt House, senior program officer at the foundation.

BASSETT – The Bassett Historical Center is increasing its service capabilities and technology with a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant from The Harvest Foundation.

The grant will primarily be used to purchase a new microfilm/microfiche reader and printer that will allow patrons to access a variety of documents, including rare and one-of-a-kind items, from the center.

“Genealogy and the study of local history routinely draw visitors from Martinsville-Henry County, across the state of Virginia,and the United States to Bassett Historical Center,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “We are excited to support the center’s growth and its mission of providing a rich historical repository of high caliber in our community.”

Many records housed at the historical center are on microfilm/microfiche, which requires a reader to make them accessible. The new equipment will allow employees to send patrons copies of articles and other documents via email, which will help serve visitors in a more efficient and timely manner.

“We are very excited that the Bassett Historical Center has been approved for a PUP! grant from the Harvest Foundation,” said Pat Ross, director and operational manager of the historical center. “Some of these records are extremely rare and are only available here at the center. We are very appreciative of this grant and are looking forward to our staff and patrons being able to use this machine to forward research into both local and family history.”

Additionally, this grant will provide leveraged funding for a marketing grant from the Martinsville-Henry County Tourism office to market the new technology and increase awareness of the center in target markets across Virginia and North Carolina.

“When a patron visits the center, sometimes their stay is extended past one day,” said Fran Snead, director and operational manager in training. “Patrons tend to stay in this area and use the many amenities such as dining, lodging, fuel, the walking trails, fishing in the Smith River and shops. Many times on race weekends, there are fans who visit the center prior to races at the Martinsville Speedway.”

Bassett Historical Center houses many rare collections including the Bassett Journal (Henry County Journal), early editions of the Martinsville Bulletin dating back to the 1880s, and photography collections from Richard Gravely. To find out more about the center, visit or call (276) 629-9191.

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants for up to $10,000 are available for application year-round. To find out more, visit or call (276) 632-3329.

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