Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A message from PastPerfect software

As a PastPerfect client, I just received the following email from President Richard Hilton.  I wanted to post it here to help disseminate information and stop rumors.

The curatorial department and the library both use this software, and we cannot say enough about how wonderful it is to use.  It is easy to train new volunteers and interns, and the tech support is phenomenal. 

We have no complaints and will continue to use this software to keep track of Stark County's historical treasures!

* * * * * * * 

Open Letter to PastPerfect Customers:

It has come to our attention that our competitors have been disseminating misleading information about PastPerfect Software. It is unfortunate that a company would employ a desperate tactic of fear to try and make sales at the expense of our PastPerfect users.

It is true that Microsoft will stop providing technical support for Visual FoxPro on January 13, 2015.  However this will have no effect on PastPerfect. Microsoft has never provided support to users of PastPerfect or any other products developed with FoxPro. Their support has only been available to software engineers at companies like PastPerfect who create applications. Our programmers fully understand the FoxPro language and have not required any help from Microsoft for over 10 years. And since all the new products we are now developing are not based on FoxPro, we will have no need of their help in the future.

To be clear, PastPerfect version 4 and version 5 will continue to work fine on January 14th and for many years to come.  PastPerfect works on all current versions of Windows including the latest version 8.1 and we have been assured that it will work on Windows 10 whenever that is released.

We also realize that FoxPro is not the future of software development. Therefore in 2012 we began working on new products using state of the art web-based development tools including, HTML, CSS, PHP and SQL server databases. Our goal is to provide a seamless, inexpensive migration path for current PastPerfect users who want to move with us into the future. Next month we will release the first in this line of products, a brand new PastPerfect Online. This web hosted application will replace and enhance the original PastPerfect Online product that was created in FoxPro. Next year we will complete development of the core PastPerfect collection management software.

Our mission at PastPerfect has always been to provide that best possible software at an affordable price with exceptional customer service. As our new software products become available we will provide current users an easy and affordable way to migrate without losing valuable data and images or having to retrain staff. We will continue to support PastPerfect version 4 and 5. No one will be left without support or forced to upgrade.

With kind regards,

Richard L. Hilton
PastPerfect Software, Inc.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Historic Onesto Lofts

All I can say is....WOW!

Chris and I stopped in at the open house at the Onesto this morning and we were amazed!  It looks absolutely fabulous.

It is really special to see a historic building brought back to life like this.  It's like walking into the past.

We were fortunate to visit a little over a year ago with a Canton Food Tour.  I blogged about it then -- click here to read about it and see a few pictures of what it looked like!  They have put a TON of work into the restoration.

Here are a few photos I took today:

Monday, October 13, 2014

CGP celebrates 50 years

Chris and I spent this past weekend in Cooperstown, NY, helping our graduate program celebrate 50 years of training museum professionals!

The Cooperstown Graduate Program -- called "CGP" or just "the Program" by students, alumni, and faculty -- was the first to offer graduate degrees in museum studies.  The first class of 28 students came in the fall of 1963.  Back then, the program was only one year, so the Class of 1964 is our oldest and dearest group of alums.

In the late 1970s, the Program began to develop a 2-year master's degree program with a full time summer internship in between.  That is the model that continues today.

It was wonderful and surreal to be back in Cooperstown.  Chris and I went back together a few times when we were living in Rockland County (and the drive was much, much shorter) to visit friends or to be a judge for New York State History Day.  I was there in 2010 for the first ever Institute for Cultural Entrepreneurship, a unique conference for mid-career museum professionals.  That year the Program was in the middle of a major building project.  I did not get to see its new home until this past weekend.

I was IN AWE.

The new building is very modern on the inside (white, glass, metal) while staying true to its heritage on the outside (brown, green).  It is still situated well into the landscape, but when you walk in -- WOW!

After passing a small reception area, the first thing you see is a wonderful new gallery space where students build exhibitions.  The current exhibition, "All Cooped Up," explores winter in Cooperstown.  It was very well done and quite impressive!  Students have more tools at their disposal than we did back in 1999.  There is a graphics lab now, furnished with a large format plotter and I assume a vinyl cutter, based on the exhibition design in "All Cooped Up."  Students traditionally unveil their class exhibit before Interview Weekend in March.  I'm anxious to see how students will top what's there now.

Back in the "dark ages" we had something like 4 computers, which we mostly used to type papers or check email in DOS.  Today the new lab has work stations for every student in a class to receive training on graphic design software or other programs.

I am thrilled for current and future students, but I am also a bit jealous!  What a grand space in which to study museums.

CGP is well-known for responding to trends in the museum field, and the present is no exception.  It is rolling out a new certificate program for Science Museum Studies.   One of the four faculty positions is now for science!

The weekend itself was a great time for reconnecting with old friends and revisiting museums that we haven't been to in years.  Our classmate Erik Strohl is now the Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he led a behind-the-scenes tour of their amazing collections.  We saw many rare and wonderful treasures of baseball, including:
  • Bats used by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (We got to hold them!!  With white cotton gloves on, of course.)
  • A rule book from 1859, when baseball teams were clubs of amateur players who paid a membership fee to play the game
  • The handwritten record of Jackie Robinson's first season playing baseball (Erik said once they wrote down the first game he played, that is the document that represents the breaking of the color barrier in baseball)
  • A shriner's hat worn by Ty Cobb
  • A baseball signed by both Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • And so many more documents, photographs, and artifacts!
It was a fantastic tour!  And it was great to see how far Erik has come.  When we were students, he was a curatorial intern at the BBHOF and has worked his way up to a very prestigious position!

We also had the opportunity to tour the "Folk Art & American Modernism" exhibition with Paul D'Ambrosio, President and CEO of the New York State Historical Association and fellow CGP alum.  The exhibition explores early 20th century art collectors who essentially saved early American folk art from oblivion. 

I am proud to be a CGP alum, and I am in excellent company.  There are only 950 of us, because each class is approximately 15-20 students.  There are CGP grads doing great things across the country and around the world.

And there are two of us right here at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum!

Just two quick pictures from our weekend:

Members of the class of 1999:  Stacy Ward, Chris, and me at CGP's 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday night
The view from our hotel room.  The fall colors were so much brighter in person than they look in this picture!  Nothing beats autumn in Cooperstown.  It is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall fun!

October is one of my most favorite months.  I love the changing colors of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, and the cozy nights at home when the sun goes down a little earlier each day.

It's also a great time at the Museum! 

In my department we are cataloging new artifacts like crazy, preparing for the next Keller Gallery exhibition The Legacy of Ferdinand A. Brader, getting started on the Bridal Show in April, and designing the Museum's Christmas card. 

But that's all behind-the-scenes.  What's coming up for our guests? 

Call 330-455-7043 to sign up for our next Soup at Six.  Reservations are not required for our Halloween Party, but pre-paid guest will enjoy express admission that evening!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paperwork...and other exciting stuff!

It might seem like I've been MIA since the underwear exhibit opened, but really I've been holed up in my office catching up on paperwork!

When I'm in the middle of an exhibition, I don't have time to do donation paperwork, so I end up with a stack of it after the exhibition opens.  I'm making it a priority to try to set aside time every week to keep up with it, even if I am up to my eyeballs in exhibit planning, so I don't have to spend another week like last week.

This semester we have two new interns, Rebecca and Mary, who are doing a great job with cataloging all of these new donations.  They are each interested in doing an exhibit too, as well as populating a new artifact slideshow feature on our brand new website, scheduled to launch later this year.  Mary is working with our archivist one day a week, and Rebecca is taking photographs of the artifacts in the Street of Shops.  I'm happy to have the additional help with all of my collections projects.

The staff is also busy making our wish lists for this year's Capital & Replacement campaign.  Members will be receiving this annual appeal in October.  We work really hard to come up with new and exciting funding opportunitites that make our jobs easier.  Our budget is so limited, we can't afford many of these items without the generous support of our donors.  If you are one of them, THANK YOU!

Work is also in progress for Taste of Our Town this Thursday night.  We have a good crowd coming and we're looking forward to this event.

My Tea with the Curator on Monday September 29 is SOLD OUT!  We will be taking a tour of the underwear exhibit after a program on the history of women's underwear.  It promises to be a good time!  I completed the finishing touches on my program yesterday and printed out my notes.  This will now be a brand new outreach program too -- perfect for women's groups!

I also spent some time this week cleaning up my office.  I had piles everywhere!  Underwear that was not ultimately part of the exhibit has been returned to storage.  Research materials from the library have also been returned.  Donations have been processed and moved to the volunteers' office next door for cataloging.  Papers have been properly filed.  Lots of catalogs and magazines have been tossed in the recycling bin.  I had started to forget what color my desk was, since I haven't seen it in so long!

I think that's about it.  Some of the other things on my To Do List include:

  • Contacting the Brader owners who will be displaying their drawings in the next Keller Gallery exhibit, The Legacy of Ferdinand Brader, opening December 5 at our Holiday Open House.
  • Creating a program based on my book Canton Entertainment.  I was asked if I had a program based on the book, and I had not thought of that!  I'm booked for it in November.
  • Designing program and tickets for Taste of Our Town.  I have the 2012 program to tweak, which is much, much easier than starting from scratch!
  • I still have some cleaning to do in my files.  My filing cabinet is busting at the seams!  I have trouble getting rid of things.  Being a Curator is only a few degrees away from being a hoarder.  :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have you seen the tiara yet?


We had our annual Volunteer Enrichment Day today, where each department reports on the highlights of the past year.

OF COURSE, the Ida McKinley tiara was the biggest thing that has happened in my department this year!

I remembered that WFMJ was here the week before Chris and I were out of town in July, so we never saw the clip of their story about the tiara.  I searched for it and was excited to see that they were able to get a telephone interview with Rick Harrison!

Click here to see the story, featuring some of the Museum's volunteers who were also Tiara Fund Donors!

If you haven't see the tiara yet, come visit us.  You can also see some of Ida's underwear, while you're here!  "Mentioning the Unmentionables" is on view through November 30.