After working more than two years to salvage photos scattered by the 2011 Joplin tornado and return them to their owners, Lost Photos of Joplin will close up shop this week.
Representatives from that effort will hold a final public event today at the Joplin Museum Complex, where the remaining photos, documents and personal items that have been collected will be archived.
That session will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a news conference slated for 11 a.m.
According to Thad Beeler, who heads up National Disaster Photo Rescue, the items will be kept with the Murwin Mosler Collection in case anyone wants to claim photos in the future. National Disaster Photo Rescue is a program that originated out of the Lost Photos of Joplin effort to assist other communities.
The National Disaster Photo Rescue organization, a nonprofit that formed in the wake of the tornado as a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Carthage, will continue to provide website and social media assistance to the museum for the immediate future, Beeler said. All reunification of photos with families will be organized by the museum staff.
Beeler said the Lost Photos of Joplin project was an overwhelming success. Over the course of about 5,500 hours, more than 100 volunteers collected, sorted, organized, scanned and documented more than 35,000 photographs that were found around the region after May 22, 2011.
Of those, more than 17,000 photographs have been returned to more than 700 families.
IN JUNE, volunteers with the project went to Moore, Okla., after the deadly May tornado to lend assistance with photo collection and reunification efforts there. Earlier this week, the group announced an effort to help victims of last weekend’s tornado in Washington, Ill.