Monday, July 28, 2008

McKinley biography

Gary Brown did a story in this morning's paper about a project Chris is working on.

Click here for more!

Friday, July 25, 2008

So many dolls!!

OK, I have gone through all the dolls.

I have chosen just a tick over 100.

And while that is a bit more than my goal, some of them will sit down and don't need a dollstand, so it's all going to be fine.

We have so many wonderful dolls! Here's a sneak peek at what will be included:
  • Madame Alexander Snow White, Cinderella, and all the characters from The Sound of Music
  • Apple face dolls
  • 19th century French fashion dolls
  • tiny miniature dolls
  • a Shirley Temple doll
  • the Dionne Quintuplets (as babies AND as toddlers)
  • 20th century icons: Cabbage Patch Kids, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Chatty Baby
I'm excited to have reached this hurdle in the process. It is always such a challenge to choose from our collection, because we have so many wonderful artifacts!

I decided not to include "international dolls," because we have so many of those, and I can envision an exhibit featuring them sometime in the future. That really cut down on the number I had to go through.

I think out of all the exhibits I've done here, the hardest one to make selections for was Through the Looking Glass: Highlights from the Glass & China Collections. We have so many pieces! And every single one of them was super fragile. But I'm proud to say, throughout the whole installation and de-installation, I never broke a thing!

There were a few fragile dolls, but mostly those were marked as such, so I knew what I was unwrapping.

Next, I will be researching the dolls to see what our records say about them. And I will be doing some research about doll history in general. I got two wonderful books: Made to Play House by Miriam Formanek-Brunell and Children at Play by Howard P. Chudacoff that I will be reading over the next few weeks. I also got a few doll collector's encyclopedias to help me identify some of the dolls.

This weekend I am excited for the balloon festival! Chris and I go every year, but the past few years the weather hasn't cooperated. It looks good for tonight, so I hope we see lots of balloons! A few went off this morning and we saw them on our way to work. I'm looking forward to seeing more this weekend!

The chosen ones

Yesterday I had so much fun going through our doll collection!

I am being rather picky, because of our limited space. And still, I am not quite half way through the boxes, and I'm half way through my target number! So more decisions may need to be made in the near future...

I'm going to spend the rest of today going through the rest of the boxes. I'm hoping to get through them all today, but that may be a bit too ambitious.

We'll see!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing with dolls today....

OK, not really playing with dolls...just opening boxes and looking at them! And getting them out. And putting them in doll stands. And maybe talking to them.

Um, maybe I will be playing with dolls today!

I am anxious to get started, and yet I feel overwhelmed by the number of boxes I have to go through!

I know we have some great dolls, because I have been through some of the boxes for other exhibits. But this is the first time I've gone through every single box and looked at every single doll.

So I'm off! To "play"!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Funeral memorabilia


John Herzig has one heck of a collection!

Chris and I went down to Dover to the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home to meet with John and take some photos of his collection for my program on Funerals of the Rich & Famous and Chris's program Presidential Funerals.

It was so overwhelming!

He's got some great stuff. I took lots of pictures and am excited to add them to my program. (with a plug for his collection, of course!)

By the way, his funeral home was really beautiful. There was a gorgeous pond outside with music playing from outdoor speakers disguised as rocks. I've never seen anything like that and I thought it was really neat!

I think his hobby is really unique and something I know a lot of people don't "get" -- just like they don't "get" my fascination with cemeteries!

Here are some photos of the pond:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Doll's World

This afternoon I started preliminary work on the next exhibit, A Doll's World, which opens October 24 in the Keller Gallery.

We have 74 doll stands, and 551 dolls in the collection.

I've been putting off getting started on this because I know we've got so many wonderful dolls, with limited space to display them! Hopefully this week I will be able to start opening boxes and choosing which dolls will be part of the exhibition.

I'm actually surprised we have so many doll stands. I don't think I'm going to have to buy any more. Some dolls will sit up on their own. Plus, we aren't going to be building any additional cases, so we'll just have to fill the space we have and no more than that.

I'm working with Steve on an idea for a dollhouse type facade with a picket fence that you will walk through when you enter the gallery. It will have shutters and flower boxes and everything! (Plus, we'll be able to use it again next year when I do a dollhouse exhibit called Life in Miniature.)

We have some doll furniture that will also be on display (not the dollhouse furniture -- I'm saving that for next year!). We have doll carriages, high chairs, etc. that I will set up on a platform in the gallery.

I'm going to do some research on the dolls, but like the glass and china exhibit, I'm guessing there might be quite a few that I won't be able to find out about. I will do a little bit of research on the history of playing with dolls as well, but mostly this will be a "pretty" exhibit of wonderful dolls spanning the past 150 years!

I think this exhibit will be a fun one!

Inaugural Ball

Our meeting at Glenmoor went very well yesterday!

It is going to be a beautiful and unique place to hold our Inaugural Ball in March 2009.

We've started throwing around some ideas, but things are still in the preliminary stage. There will be minimum decorating to do, because Glenmoor has so much charm already! We just don't need to add anything to augment the elegant atmosphere.

More details as they unfold...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Program too LONG -- of course!

On Friday afternoon, I did my new Funerals of the Rich & Famous program for Chris. And guess what?


No wonder it has taken me so long to finish it!

Anyway, I plan to take out some biographical information for each person to trim it down a bit. So if you're planning to come, don't worry! I won't keep you here for hours on end! I'll get it whittled down...

I've always had this problem. When I was in college, I was the student who NEVER had to stretch my papers to make them long enough. I laughed at people who would change margins, fonts, spacing, etc. to make their papers longer! I was usually at the far end of the page range, trying to reign it back in!

I've always been a writer, and doing exhibits has made me more conscious of extra words in my writing. But writing books on the side has been nice too, since I can write as much as I want!

Chris has laughed every time I've written a book and worried about if it was going to be "long enough." All three times, it was plenty long enough!! (In fact, my editor cut some from Canton's Pioneers in Flight!)

I will work on trimming the program down this afternoon. Joyce, Hallie, Cindy, Stephanie and I are going to Glenmoor for lunch and to look at the centerpieces for the Inaugural Ball in March 2009. We are always planning here at the museum!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hottest cemetery walk. EVER.

OK. I gave the longest cemetery walk I have, on what could arguably be the hottest day of the year.

The tour is still only 10 graves, like the others, but it feels longer because it is on the far side of the cemetery. So you have to get all the way over there before we even start (as I mentioned yesterday).

I lost a few along the way, because of the heat. (I'm kinda loopy after being out in the heat, so I think that is pretty funny! Chris and Hallie somehow didn't think it was as funny as I did...) I understand that some people couldn't walk all that way in this weather. It is tough if the weather isn't beastly hot. There are lots of hills, and some of the graves are really far apart.

Most of the walk itself is in the shade, but all the way there and all the way back is in full sun.

So, let's see. I have led cemetery walks in rain, sleet, and full on sun. Why can't it just be a plain old "nice day" for any of these tours?????

Despite the heat, I did have a good time. And I didn't get lost. There is a lot of pressure on you when you are wandering around the cemetery with 50 people following you!

As I'm sure you know, the next and final 2008 tour is full. But there are lots of other programs to sign up for:
  • Tea with the Curator: "Funerals of the Rich & Famous"
  • Soup at Six: "Presidential Funerals"
  • Soup at Six: "Armchair Walking Tour of West Lawn Cemetery"
Visit our website for more details! Pre-paid reservations are required for all of the above programs, so sign up today!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still working on the program...

"Funerals of the Rich & Famous" is taking me a bit longer than I expected!!

Everyone's stories are fascinating. Did you know Eva Peron's body was "missing" for 16 years after her husband's government was overthrown? Or that Elvis's last words were, "I'm going into the bathroom to read"?

Every story has been absolutely engaging, which has slowed down the research process considerably!

But that's a good thing for those who attend the next Tea with the Curator, because I am including all kinds of neat and interesting things that people are sure to find interesting.

I just love the Tea with the Curator series! We already have several people signed up, and we haven't even sent out a press release yet!

I'm also working on a couple of other projects at the moment:
  • Yesterday I went over to West Lawn to re-familiarize myself with Walking Tour #2, because it has been at least 2 years since I did that one. I hope the people who are signed up for tomorrow's walk are ready to WALK! It begins at the far end of the cemetery, so we have a lot of walking to do before we even start! Today I am printing out a few other photos related to the people we will be visiting. I think this tour doesn't have enough handouts. But it will by the end of this morning...
  • This afternoon I am going to Church of the Saviour for a luncheon to do my "Little Chicago" program. This will be the first time since Chris and I did our marathon stint at Hoover High School a few months ago! I love the 20s, so I am glad to be giving this program again. I greatly expanded it earlier this year for the Tea with the Curator series, adding a lot more local information about the era.
  • More paperwork!!!! We've gotten some large collections of vintage clothing over the past few weeks. One donation came from Board Member Jim Ewing's daughter. The other came from Board Member Ed Mowrer's mother (she also gave 42 women's hats!!). Both include some really neat pieces. We've also recently received donations of roller skates (the kind that clip onto your shoes) and a baton from the 1960s, and a portable record player with a little plastic caddy to tote your 45s around. All of the Deeds of Gift were sent out yesterday, so at this very moment in time I am caught up with my paperwork. Again. Until someone else walks in the door.
  • The marketing committee hasn't met in quite some time, so our meeting this week was extra long. We had to set dates for 2009 special events for the WHBC Source Book, which is due next week. I am currently waiting to hear back from the Masons about an exhibit we are hosting from them in January, and the Smithsonian about official dates for The Working White House. (Every time I host a SITES exhibit, I can't figure out if the dates on the contract are SHIPPING dates, or OPENING and CLOSING dates!)
That's about it for me right now. But that is plenty!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monument photos

I took these pictures of the Monument yesterday. Just wanted to share!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Classic Car Club visiting museum!

Wow. It's not every day you can enjoy a car show at work!

I knew this club was coming today, but I didn't know that they would be bringing their cars! When Chris and I go to our national meet, we park our car and take a tour bus everywhere.

So it was a pleasant surprise when all these gorgeous vehicles came rolling in this morning!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cereal Box Biography

Volunteers Michele and Larry Catalano just stopped by to show me their grandson's art project -- a "cereal box biography" of President McKinley! It's called "Presidential Puffs"!

It was so cute, I just had to share it with you (click on each image for a larger version):

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who made the cut?

I've narrowed down who will be in my program "Funerals of the Rich & Famous." It was a tough decision!

These are the finalists:
  • Anna Nicole Smith (see previous post for WHY she's included!!)
  • Sarah Bernhardt
  • Elvis Presley
  • Jim Morrison
  • Rudolph Valentino
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Judy Garland
  • Bob Hope
  • Johnny Carson
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Eva Peron
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Albert Einstein
  • Jim Henson
  • Grace Kelly
  • Princess Diana
The hardest part was deciding who to include. There are so many to choose from! I think these all have interesting stories with them, as well as some name recognition to get people to come to the program.

We'll only spend a few minutes on each one. For some, an image exists of them actually in their coffin, which I find fascinating in itself! For all, there is at least something representing the huge funeral procession, tributes left at the grave, or some other memorial-related activity.

It should be an interesting program!

And don't forget, it includes a guided tour of the Keller Gallery exhibits Going Out in Style and Stories in Stone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tea with the Curator - Funerals of the Rich & Famous

Today I am going to start working on my program for the next Tea with the Curator on "Funerals of the Rich & Famous." The Tea will be on Monday August 11 at 10:00 AM. Pre-paid reservations are required, so call today to make your reservation!

This will be the second Tea with the Curator centered around the Keller Gallery exhibits Going Out in Style and Stories in Stone. There will be two Soup at Six programs this fall too, in addition to the remaining two cemetery walks (which are both full).

I am trying to figure out how many people to include in the program. I want to highlight well-known people with interesting funeral stories. I am starting my research with the book What a Way To Go by Adele Q. Brown. Chris got it for me for Christmas last year (as part of my on-going cemetery research project, you know!).

I am going to start with a look at the complexities of hosting a famous funeral with today's media. There was a fascinating article in a funeral industry trade magazine a little while ago addressing the funeral of Anna Nicole Smith. I thought a look at that case would nicely set the scene for the program.

John Herzig, a funeral director down in the Dover-New Philly area, stopped in to see me a few weeks ago. He has the largest collection of funeral memorabilia in the world, most of which is on display at the Dover location of the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home. He gave me an inventory list of his collection when he was here, and I plan to contact him to see if I can take a few photos of what he's got! His collection has even been featured by Ripley's Believe It or Not. How cool is that?

On a personal note, I am looking forward to the long weekend to rest, relax, and work on my novel! (Last weekend I changed the entire thing from first to third person, and now I am "unstuck" and writing again!)

The museum will be open for the Fourth of July, so if you'd like something to do, come on down!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hat pin photos

I thought you might want to take a peek at the hat pin collection I have been trying to figure out! These photos were taken this morning by my volunteer Dick Turner.