Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where I've Been

So much has been going on with me lately that I haven't had time to blog.

I spent most of March getting three presentations ready for the Arkansas Museum Association Annual Meeting. Then at the end of the month I traveled to Jonesboro and gave my presentations. Based on the feedback they went really well. I was also elected to the AMA board as the representative for District 3.

April was spent in research mode for the music exhibit that I'm in charge of, as well as catching up on reading AMA information and attending my first board meeting.

May went in a flash. I narrowed down photos and audio excerpts from oral history interviews for the music exhibit and worked on a big project securing release forms for older interviews that the museum has. I also tallied the votes for the music exhibit. . .did I mention that we let the public vote on what artifacts we will use in the exhibit. And I attended my second AMA board meeting where we made a lot of progress on the professional development workshops that AMA will be sponsoring for the year.

June and July feel like they have been squashed together. I celebrated my birthday. I helped with our two history camps that we had at the museum. Our museum finally got permission from the city to be on Facebook. Our education coordinator and I submitted a session proposal to AAM. And I've started organizing the panel session on social media that will be presented at SEMC in Baton Rouge this October. At the beginning of the month I attended the Arkansas Educator's Technology Conference and had a great time hanging out with the teachers that also attended.

Out of all of this there have been two stand out projects. One is the music exhibit. Exhibits are always a labor of love and you constantly question if the public is going to like what you produce. However, I haven't worried as much about that with this exhibit since we had the public vote on what artifacts they wanted to see. At this point I'm in the process of designing the physical layout of the exhibit and it is such a creative process. I see the light at the end of tunnel and now I'm so anxious to finally get to share this exhibit with the public, but I still have to wait until October.

The other stand out project has been securing release forms for the older oral history interviews that we have in our collection. I freely admit at times it is a headache. Unfortunately, a number of the interviewees have passed away. I've been spending a lot of time researching on the Internet and wading through obits to find the next of kin. Sometimes it is very frustrating. Sometimes you hunt down an obit just to find out that the next of kin has passed away too. However, there is this wonderful feeling when it all works out and then you get that phone call from the next of kin. "I didn't even know they had given an interview. Is there any way I can hear it?" Even sweeter is when you get that second follow-up phone call. It's often a soft, watery voice on the other end, but then sentiment is always the same, "Thank you for giving me back my loved one." Those are the days I live for and that's why I love my job.