Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top Museum Moments of 2013

I’ve never been one who enjoyed the blank slate of the new year.  I have always preferred to look back on the past year, with a calendar full of appointments, deadlines, events, programs, and exhibits accomplished.

While many of my friends are energized by the “fresh start” of January, I’ve always dreaded it.  To me, there’s something unnerving and daunting about a brand new blank calendar!  I'd much rather flip back through the 2013 calendar and remember all that's been done in my department over the past 12 months.

So, in the spirit of the “year in review” posts that seem to be everywhere this time of year, here are my favorite moments from 2013:

7.  Installing compact shelving in the Conservation Gallery.  The new building was our dream for years and years, so we were very excited when we finally got to build it in 2010.  But the interior wasn’t quite finished.  We desperately wanted compact shelving units to maximize our space in the new storage facility.  After years of looking for the right funding source, we finally got the money to purchase them this year.  We now have a state-of-the-art storage facility for our textiles, furniture, and large artifact collections – with space to grow!

6.  Serving on the grant review committee for The History Fund at the Ohio Historical Society.  I have to say that the two days I spent in Columbus in February 2013 were THE MOST INTENSE of my life.  It was extremely difficult to choose among so many excellent projects.  It really gave me a glimpse at the other side of grant writing.  Your proposal can be top notch, and you can still not be funded when the competition is fierce.  As I write more and more grants in the future, this experience will stick with me and remind me what makes a proposal really stand out in a crowd.

5.  C-SPAN coming to film their popular First Ladies series here.  I’ve had the good fortune of being on several television programs over the years.  I’m always excited when I get a call asking if I’m willing to be on camera.  It was a lot of fun to pull out artifacts relating to Ida McKinley’s life, some of which had never before been seen because they were only recently donated to the Museum!

4.  Being profiled in About magazine.  I’ve been a fan of About since it came out.  I’ve read the column “In My Own Words” many times, asking myself how I would answer the questions if anyone were ever to ask me.  When the email came asking me to do it, I jumped at the chance to participate. 

3.  The donation of a Dueber Hampden bicycle.  I didn’t think any of these still existed.  I had never seen a real one, only a drawing in an ad.  We have a few of the plates that wrap around the handlebar tree, but that was it.  When I found out someone not only HAD ONE, they were willing to DONATE IT, I just about fell off my chair.  The top three things on my Curatorial Wish List were:

  • Ida McKinley’s wedding dress
  • An "I Spin for McKinley" Gibbs top
  • Dueber Hampden bicycle

The only thing we don’t have yet is that wedding dress!  We have a lead on an image of it that I hope pans out shortly.  I think I need to spend some time thinking of a few new items to add to the Wish List.

2.  The release of my fourth book Canton Entertainment.  When 2013 started, it wasn’t even on my radar screen to write another book.  After hearing Cindy in the Museum Shoppe talking about how she wished she had a new book to sell, the idea for Canton Entertainment began to take shape.  It’s been a wild ride!

1.  Installing A Secret Gift in the Keller Gallery.  I know I’ve blogged about this exhibit a lot in the past few months, but that’s only because I care so deeply about this story.  Ted Gup’s book gave Canton a wonderful story to inspire us, as well as the perfect opportunity for our cultural organizations to collaborate.  The exhibit is open through February 2, 2014 in the Keller Gallery, but we are talking about ways to incorporate the story permanently into The Stark County Story.  More about that as it develops.

It's been a great year at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum!  We're looking forward to what's coming up in 2014.  Even as I crack open that calendar, full of work yet to do, before I know it I'll be right back here in December 2014 looking back at everything we did in the year to come.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!

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