Situated on the second floor of the Jennie Huizenga Memorial Library is a treasure trove of area history. Trinity’s Van Namen Dutch Heritage Center contains shelves and file cabinets filled with neatly organized mementos of the history of the Dutch in Chicago, memorializing the cultural group from which Trinity Christian College originated. Family histories; records from local churches, schools, and businesses; copies of area Dutch newspapers; old photographs and scrapbooks; and artifacts from days gone by are contained there. Many items are one-of-a-kind.
The Dutch Heritage Center was first started through the generous support of Jacob and Rita Van Namen, who immigrated in 1955 and were passionate about memorializing the influence of the Dutch in America. The Center has been a part of the library building since its construction in the late 1990s. It was established to preserve materials of historical value related to Dutch heritage in the Chicago area and to develop a research base for interested scholars.
Because it does not have a dedicated source of funds, the Center has not been utilized to its full potential. Funding would allow for regular hours, a dedicated archivist, and the periodic furniture and equipment upgrades necessary to keep the space up-to-date and functioning efficiently. For this reason, the College chose to include it in the current comprehensive capital campaign, “The Time Is Now.”
Money from the campaign will be used to create an endowment for the future of the Center. This endowment will serve to pay the salary of an archivist who will organize and care for the historical artifacts and help others to utilize them; fund needed equipment and software for the purpose of cataloguing, digitizing, and otherwise preserving the artifacts; and finance a facelift that would both improve the organization of the space and make the Center a more pleasant place to visit. Trinity is excited at the prospect of making the Dutch Heritage Center a better resource for the College and the community.
Contributions to the comprehensive campaign’s Dutch Heritage Center project can be made by clicking the banner on the right, and choosing “Centers for Learning” in the gift designation drop-down menu.