What you have stored in your basement or attic might just be worth taking a second look at, especially if you picked it up while cleaning out an elder relative’s house or storage shed. Many pieces of memorabilia have been collected by various groups around South County over the years, and now they will have a central location and contact numbers so they can all work together instead of duplicating one another’s efforts.

People who bring their items in may have them back if they wish, once they are put on digital disks.  It all started two years ago.

“Mac Miller came to me in February of 2013,” said HCC SouthShore’s president, Allen Witt. Miller’s family, along with the Dickman family, were two of the original founding families of Ruskin and much of the area around it. “He had saved and collected quite a bit of history, and we talked about some of the other groups that had done the same.”

Arthur “Mac” Miller is a professor emeritus at New College in Sarasota and is hoping to build an electronic database of photographs and information as part of the John Ruskin History Project.

When in 1907 Dr. George McAnelly Miller, Mac Miller’s ancestor, moved to the area, he founded Ruskin College, named in honor of the British writer and social reformer. In effect, the town was established at the same time. Ruskin College closed its doors with the onset of World War I, and a fire destroyed most of its buildings in 1918. The town was without an institute of higher learning until HCC SouthShore opened in fall 2008.

Allen Witt, left, president of HCC’s SouthShore campus, and Craig Hardesty, dean of academic affairs, look over the 125 ledger.  Witt and the others working on the HCC history display want the entire area of South County to be represented.