"...but then history does not only consist of documents."
- John Lukacs
So it turns out that the Emancipation focused traveling exhibit we were supposed to get at the end of December was destroyed during Sandy. Instead, they are sending us an exhibit about the history of freedom in the United States. Primarily, it runs from the Revolution to the Civil War, with a conclusion that follows through to the 1960’s.
To supplement the traveling exhibit, I’ve been working on a small exhibit the emancipation process here in New York, with specific background on slavery in the state and at our site. I’ve found that most people you talk to either don’t realize there were slaves in New York, or think that it was mostly down in the City. The exhibit will explain the state’s gradual emancipation process, as well as what impact national emancipation had.
I’m pretty pumped, but the best part (other than the primary source docs I get to use from our library, which are amazing and powerful) is that the rest of my staff is totally on board. We are now having the exhibit opening on January 1, which is the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. One of the local church choirs is going to sing, and there is a high school student who is memorizing the Proclamation so he can recite it at the opening.
But it gets better. Throughout the entire month of January, we will be having speakers come in and give programs. We’ve already got an author of a book about New York state’s emancipation process booked for the 5th, an area professor is coming in on the 26th to talk about black soldiers in the Civil War, and we’re talking to reenactors/interpreters who present programs on Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, and Moses Viney. We’re also looking at having a program on MLK Day.
Guys, I am so pumped. This is going to be great. Are you doing anything to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation at your institutions?
We had very little wind or rain last night at our house. My museum today is still getting quite a bit of wind, but so far we have survived with no damage. We’re all thanking our lucky stars. I hope and pray that all of you are safe and sound, and that your institutions were as lucky as ours.
We just got a whole envelope full of thank you notes from the kids that came to visit last week. They are quite literally the cutest things you have ever seen. Lots of pictures of our sheep Badger, mentions of the butter making, blacksmith, and learning about the Mohawk. Guys, these seriously are adorable. I’m going to hang them up around my office
I think I have had my first kick in the bright and shiny rainbows and puppies. I have an automatically updating news feed on my homepage, and made sure to add in local events once I got this job. I think it is important to understand what’s going on in the community, and to decide how we need to adjust what we do to better serve them.
Now, some background. The community I live in, and the one that my museum serves is approximately 155,000 people (according to the 2010 census). As of that same census, around 11% of the population were living below the poverty line. It appears that, according to a recent op-ed in the local paper, 50% of the children in this community are living in poverty.
Right now I’m just feeling a little rattled. My volunteers are worried about Christmas decorations and doll houses. Not that those are bad things. Those are fun things. But how am I supposed to worry about those when the children I serve, that my institution serves, are suffering this much?
Apologies, dearest readers! I went from a crazy/fun/busy summer internship to an even crazier/busier/more fun real, grownup, “big girl” job. Tomorrow will be the end of my third week, and I can tell you that it is going to be really challenging but I think very rewarding. Here’s a rundown of really only a small fraction of what I’ve done so far:
All of this has occurred while trying to get settled into real life. The Adorable Engineer and I are enjoying seeing each other every day, which is a nice. Really nice, after only seeing each other on weekends or holidays, and we haven’t yet attempted to kill each other. I’ve been cooking up a storm, including a half-failed attempt to make pretzel bread reminiscent of some we had last year in DC. I’ve joined a gym, and am in the process of getting all of my official New York documents. It is pretty exciting! Now that I have somewhat found a rhythm, I will get a few posts lined up for you, and actually catch up on some of yours!