Busman's Holiday

All of the list items in my catalog of curiosity are related to my work, broadly defined. Today, a number of the list items I add will be directly related to my work in a narrower sense -- as an educator and curator-type at a medical museum, and a volunteer at a historic site and former slave quarters. See this introductory post for more about what I do. This blog isn't a part of either job; I do it for fun and for my personal satisfaction, so I guess it's a bit of a busman's holiday, but I find that people like me, in museums, history, writing, or educating, tend to have passions and hobbies that align with our work. I'll also add a few list items which could be described as assigning myself work for fun -- as in, structured challenges. For that matter, doing 100 new things in 1,000 days is a structured challenge.

As I collect suggestions, I am struck by just how smart and informed my friends and members of my networks are. I am lucky to know a lot of people who are well informed and lifelong learners, especially in history, education, and various caregiving and/or advocacy professions. Incidentally, if you are looking to hire someone in one of those fields, (especially but not limited to the Boston area), let me know, because I may be able to hook you up with someone who is job hunting or open to the right offer. And keep the blog suggestions coming!

  • Visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. This famous and grotesque museum of medical oddities is very different from the medical museum where I work, which focuses on medical history and innovation, but I feel silly being a medical history person and not having been there. 
Skulls and bones. Image from www.muttermuseum.org

  • Read The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer or watch the PBS documentary. Gil D recommended this book to me while we were talking about the history of thyroid cancer. I remember the splash it made when it came out, but I haven't read it.
  • Visit the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. This art and natural history museum has recently begun to focus some of its interpretation on themes of innovation, and I'm curious to see their work in person. 
  • Revise a few sample chapters from the draft of the book I wrote for last year's National "Novel" Writing Month and put together a book proposal. In November 2015 I drafted a book tentatively titled, "On Creaky Floors: Wit and Wisdom on the Life of a Museum Guide." I'll give you some sneak previews of it while I work on it.
  • This year for NaNoWriMo, I hope to write the first draft of a YA book on doing historical research.
  • Phoebe R. recommended the 31 Plays in 31 Days challenge, which is like NaNoWriMo except for very short (1-page?) plays, and it traditionally takes place in August. This seems like a "safe" way to try out writing educational, nonfiction scripts, as well as play around with some other ideas. 
  • Read Great Discoveries in Medicine edited by William Bynum and Helen Bynum. By now, readers may have noticed that I have a bit of a book-buying habit (or at least book-acquiring, since some of them come from swaps.) I had this out of the library earlier this year to research a particular topic, and then it was on sale at the Harvard Bookstore's excellent semi-annual warehouse sale, and I couldn't resist. I've only read a little of it so far. 
  • Spend a full day in the gallery at the museum where I work. I have been front-of-house staff in a number of museums, and that often means spending all day in the galleries, observing and interacting with visitors. Where I currently work, I give several tours a month (sometimes several a week) and help out in the gallery when needed, but most of my work is in an office. I should have the experience of spending the whole day in the gallery here. 
  • Visit the African Burial Ground and its associated National Park Service visitor center in New York City.
  • Learn more about Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Caribbean American culture and history. Many of the people enslaved at the Royall House and Slave Quarters were brought there from Antigua; some had been born in Africa and others were enslaved at birth in Antigua. Others were born in Massachusetts to Afro-Carribbean parents on the Royalls' estate. I think I would understand their lives a little better if I get to know Afro-Caribbean culture, in their time and my own.