BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — On Tuesday, The McLean County Museum of History received a visit from Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

In 2021, the museum received nearly $100,000 in grant funds from the state to assist in digitizing a collection. The special collection is over three million negative films from The Pantagraph dating back to the 1930s.

Museum staff gifted Giannoulias a printed picture of baseball legend Jackie Robinson playing basketball for UCLA against then Illinois State Normal University.

The secretary of state said seeing the progress is inspiring.

“In this day and age with Twitter and TikTok and all these social media platforms, which is instant gratification and not a lot of depth,” he said. “To sit here and hold a photo and look at Jackie Robinson sweat or see this important information and hold it in your hands, I wish everyone could come to this place and spend some time here.”

The museum has digitized the collection up until the 1950s but needs more funding to continue into the 2000s. It’ll take at least $1 million to digitize the 1960s.