This has been another summer of travel, mostly museum related, and there’s more travel ahead. Part of me has grand dreams of writing some thoughtful posts about some of these trips, but the practical side of me is starting to dump items off of the to do list. It seems like my only hope of keeping afloat.
So, here’s a brief account of where I’ve been and where I’ll be.
In July, I had the opportunity to make a return Peer Review visit (a program with the American Alliance of Museums) to the Renton History Museum. They’re a great local history museum, just outside of Seattle. It’s always a pleasure to return to a museum, and it’s rewarding to see if the report I submitted had any impact. One of the highlights was seeing their fabulous photo booth that went with their “Furry Friends” exhibit–further proof that delightful exhibit moments don’t always cost a lot of money.
In August, I headed to a tiny town outside of Pittsburgh to do a first Peer Review visit to the West Overton Museums. They have about 18 buildings on their original sites. It’s a wonderfully rich site, with lots of great industrial history. It’s also the birthplace of future robber baron, Henry Clay Frick. Lots of good ideas floating around, but my job was to help them focus a bit.
During that trip, I also crossed something off the Historic Site Bucket List: Fallingwater. Wish there were fewer people on the tour, but I know that this home is on a lot of people’s bucket lists. Even with the crowds, it was a magical experience to be in the house. And the visitor’s center was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
I also spent some time at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I’m always inspired by a good children’s museum and firmly believe that history museums could learn all sorts of things about exhibit designs from children’s museums. The official reason of that trip was to chat with Chris Seifert, Deputy Director, about their Charm Bracelet Project–a unique community/neighborhood development project. I was hoping he would inspire some thoughts about what’s ahead of DHV and our neighbors in the Cedars. And he did! Lots of good ideas to ponder. I also stopped by the Mattress Factory, Carnegie Museums, and of course, the Heinz History Center. A good friend gave me an after hours tour of the Fort Pitt Museum. I also really enjoyed the Phipps Conservancy–so many pretty plants!
Last weekend, I headed to East Texas with the family for a 50th Wedding Anniversary party of one of dad’s cousins. Hearing about the family history is fun, and we even did a driving tour of Timpson, where a few generations of Prycers farmed. Of course, I didn’t love seeing the “old Prycer place” in such disrepair, but I am very tempted to go back and exploring it further.
Next weekend, I’m heading to Fayetteville for a mini-reunion of the college gang. I’m also hoping to make a quick trip to Crystal Bridges. I’ve been there before, but I really want to see their progress on rebuilding a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
And then on Tuesday, I head to Louisville for AASLH. I’m doing two presentations–one on unique partnerships and one on advocacy. The advocacy session will also be a part of the online conference–which means I’m going from never having presented at a national conference to three presentations. I love conferences, but I’m also anticipating being very, very tired (and possibly “all museum-ed out”) by Friday.
Finally, on October 1, I’ll be speaking at the Stone Fort Museum in Nacogdoches. They’re opening up a new exhibit on 19th century diseases–and I’ll be talking about the literary portrayal of consumption. It’s a talk based on an article that was published several years ago. I’m really looking forward to wearing my historian hat too.
So, it’s not like I’m anticipating my life calming dramatically in October, but at least I’ll be home a bit more.