The portraits of eleven prominent figures from Watertown’s history have hung from street lamps along the town’s main thoroughfares since last July. Now, visitors can learn the stories behind the faces on the banners by exploring a new interactive digital display at the Watertown Free Public Library.
In the display, photographs and documents from the library’s local history collection combine with biographical information to create a more complete portrait of each of the eleven banner subjects. The wide-ranging influence of these artists, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, and explorers extends from patents to pulpits, architecture to abolition, Common Street to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some of their works—handwritten manuscripts, larger-than- life sculptures—are too fragile to touch, but all can be “handled” in digital format on the library’s interactive display.
The street lamp banners were the brainchild of the VP of Marketing at Watertown Savings Bank, Carole Katz, who collaborated with members of the Historical Society of Watertown on the selection of notable people to feature. Ten of the 11 portraits came from the Local History Collection of the Watertown Free Public Library. Katz then worked with New England Flag & Banner in Watertown’s East End to produce the banners, whose design she shared with the library for its new display.
“We hope that this extension of the banner project initiated by the Watertown Savings Bank and the Historical Society of Watertown will highlight the richness and breadth of the library’s local history collection,” said Library Director Leone Cole.
Visitors can view and interact with the display on the library’s large-format touchscreen monitors—one on each level of the building—during regular library hours. In addition, many of the digitized materials included in the displays are available 24/7 via the library’s website, http://www.watertownlib.org.
About the Watertown Free Public Library
The Watertown Free Public Library provides access to a wide variety of popular materials, resources, services, and programs that fulfill the informational, cultural and recreational needs of Watertown and surrounding communities. The WFPL works to create an environment that attracts and welcomes users of all ages and abilities.