About Me and My First Five Items

(Click here to listen to an audio recording of this post)

Thank you to those of you who have already suggested things for me to try or who have expressed your interest in this project! Shortly, I’ll post more about what I’m hoping to get out of the reader-suggested experiences, but please feel free to chime in before then, too. Today, I want to share a bit more about myself and my background, and add the first five items to my catalog of curiosity.

As I mentioned in my first post, I am passionate about history, writing, teaching, and navigating the role of museums in their communities, among many other things. This includes what I do at my job and outside of it. I am the Exhibit and Education Specialist at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. My job there involves researching and curating exhibits, giving tours, developing programs and exhibit text, and more. I love how varied my work there is, and the mix of history and science is fascinating. I am also a volunteer with the Royall House and Slave Quarters, a historic site in Medford, Mass. I am working with them on a project to evaluate and improve the visitor experience -- the RHSQ is dedicated to representing the lives of all of the people who lived there during its period of interpretation, including 60-some enslaved people of African descent. I have also worked at several historic sites on the Freedom Trail in Boston, interned at a textile conservation studio, and done other museum-y and public history things. I’m sure I’ll be telling some stories from all of these experiences as I venture forward in this project.

My first five items

(note that I’m going to do the things on my list in whatever order strikes my fancy) 

Take a class or a workshop in Playback Theater or another interactive, responsive theater technique. Responsive theater seems to be onto something in terms of connecting with people’s experiences, and I’m interested to learn more so I could apply some of their ideas in museums or public history. Plus, it sounds fun. 

Go to the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont. I read about it a while back and it sounds up my alley, but I still haven’t been. I’m especially interested in museums of technology now that I work in one. 

Attend a meeting of a local community development board, zoning board, or something similar. I want to know more about how decisions are made in my community.
Read Alchemy of the Soul, the exhibition catalog to the installation of the same name by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons at the Peabody Essex Museum. I bought myself this book on a whim yesterday. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a museum exhibition catalog cover to cover, but I really enjoyed the exhibit of art inspired by the landscape of largely-defunct sugar refineries in Cuba. It's parallel text in English and Spanish, and I am poking at learning Spanish, so I'll read it in English but look at the Spanish as well.

Do some work for the History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust project. I have been meaning to try participating in a crowdsourced history project, and this one is new and looks really worthwhile.