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What is Witchcraft? Taking a Closer Look at the History of Witchcraft

November 11, 2021

          Since we recently celebrated Halloween, I thought I would share a short introduction to the history of witchcraft. When we talk about witchcraft, the first things that come to mind are movies and T.V. shows that depict witchcraft, Halloween decorations and costumes, the Salem Witch Trials, et. cetera. It is important to acknowledge that witchcraft history can be found around the world not just in Europe and Colonial New England. Witchcraft looks different for each culture, and therefore not one definition describes what is witchcraft. There are many definitions of witchcraft and witches used by historians in the past and now. Ronald Hutton in his book The Witch: A History of Fear from Ancient Times to the Present shared a number of definitions past historians have shared. For instance, Hutton stated that a witch is “…any person who uses magic (although those who employ it for beneficial purposes are often popularly distinguished as ‘good’ or ‘white’ witches); or as the practitioner of a particular kind of nature-based Pagan religion…”. He wrote this book as a contribution towards the understanding of the beliefs concerning witchcraft, and the resulting notorious trials of alleged witches, in early modern Europe. Hutton’s The Witch also described witchcraft history found outside of the United States and Europe. I will go into more depth about witchcraft history in future blog posts, and if there is something you would like to know more about, please let me know. In the meantime, I will introduce the history of witchcraft on Long Island.

While one of the most well-known witchcraft cases took place in Salem, Massachusetts, there have been witch trials in New York and even one that was decades before the Salem Witch Trials. In 1658, a woman named Elizabeth “Goody” Garlick in East Hampton, New York was accused of witchcraft but was spared the same fate accused people faced in Salem. After the East Hampton magistrates collected the evidence, they decided to refer the case to the higher courts in Hartford, Connecticut (Long Island was four years shy from becoming a part of the Connecticut colony at the time; it was not until 1664 when it became a part of New York colony). While witchcraft was a capital offense at the time, John Winthrop, Jr.’s court rendered a non-guilty verdict for Goody Garlick. John Winthrop, Jr., the son of the co-founder of the Massachusetts Bay colony, was made the Governor of the Hartford colony and was one of the few people that were skeptical of magic particularly common people having the capabilities to practice magic; part of his skepticism was inspired by his background as a scholar whose research pursued finding explanations for magical forces influencing the world around them. In addition to learning about witchcraft in New York, I also previously did some research on modern witchcraft history and the pagan origins of Halloween.

Some witches and pagans (or Neo-Pagans) celebrate Samhain (“saah-win”), an ancient Gaelic festival that marks the time of year when seasons change, and many believe the boundary between the world and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. Samhain is known to be Halloween’s earliest root.  Early celebrations of Samhain involved a lot of ritualistic ceremonies to connect to spirits including celebrating in costumes (using animal skins) as a disguise themselves against ghosts, special feasts, built bonfires and made lanterns by hollowing out gourds. To learn more about the history of Halloween, I wrote about Halloween’s origins in the post “The History of Halloween and How Museums Celebrate” and I have included it in the links section below.

I included more links about witchcraft on Long Island if you would like to read more about this part of history. If you want to read more blog posts about witchcraft history, please let me know.

Links:

The History of Halloween and How Museums Celebrate

Hutton, Ronald. The Witch: A History of Fear, From Ancient Times to the Present, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017.

https://history.hanover.edu/texts/nyhah.html

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/before-salem-there-was-the-not-so-wicked-witch-of-the-hamptons-95603019/

http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/LI/WitchesofLongIsland.html

https://bronx.news12.com/beyond-the-broomstick-witches-on-long-island-36714763

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13 Things to Do in Museums for Halloween 2021

October 14, 2021

It has been over a year since the pandemic and because Halloween is coming up soon, I was curious to find out what museums are doing to celebrate this year. I did some research, and there were some museums that have in-person, virtual, and hybrid events going on either leading up to the holiday or near the holiday. While I only listed thirteen of them, there are more museum Halloween events out there. If you come across other ones, please share in the comments or contact me via email or social media.

The list is in no particular order, and it is only a small sample of museums from around the country. Their websites will have their own COVID-19 policies listed.

  1. New York State Museum, New York, Halloween Spooktacular Online

http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/programs/halloween-spooktacular

This virtual event can be found on this page, and activities that can be done at home are shown through pre-recorded videos. Some of the events include storytelling, craft demos, science, and a close-up look at the Museum’s costume collections.

2. Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, New York, Fall Festival: Festive Days/Haunted Nights

https://www.vanderbiltmuseum.org/featured-events/

Each weekend starting on October 15th and ending on October 31st, visitors have the option to attend the Fall Festival during the day and at night. Tickets are currently on sale. Festive Days are $20 for kids and $24 for adults (museum members get a 50% discount). Haunted Nights are $10 for non-members and $5 for members, and kids are welcome.

The Festive Days, 12-4pm, include but not limited to admission to the museum, mini-golf, face painting, Halloween games, and a scavenger hunt. Haunted Nights, 6-10pm, have a Haunted Maze and a 9-hole mini golf course.

3. Fairfield Museum and History Center, Connecticut, Halloween on the Green

https://www.fairfieldhistory.org/programs-events/halloween-on-the-green-2021/

Fairfield Museum’s free family event includes but is not limited to trick-or-treating, a costume parade, tours of the historic buildings, art-making activities, a bounce house, and food trucks. This event takes place on Sunday, October 24th from 12 to 4pm.

4. Marbles Kids Museum, North Carolina, Kooky Spooky

https://www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/KookySpooky

Tickets are currently on sale for a family-friendly after-hours costume party on Friday October 29th from 6 to 8:30pm (members are $15 per person and non-members are $18 per person). Museum’s activities and a dance party are included.

5. Hagley, Delaware, Halloween at Hagley

https://www.hagley.org/calendar/halloween-hagley

There are outdoor activities planned for visitors on Saturday October 30th from 10am to 4pm. Some of the activities include ghost hunting in their garden and making a jack-o-lantern pouch to stash some goodies. Children are encouraged to come in costume and visit the treat stations throughout the surroundings of the historic house and garden. Also, there are costume parades they can participate in (11:30am and 1:30pm).

6. Bowers Museum, California, Virtual Public Tour- Halloween’s History, Horror and Humor 10.31.2021

https://www.bowers.org/index.php/programs/event/3007-virtual-public-tour-halloween-tours-unsolved-mysteries-at-the-bowers-museum-10-31-2021

Even if you are not located in California, you can still participate in this museum’s Halloween festivities. The tour is of the Historic Wing and the history of Halloween highlights mysteries surrounding the Bowers’ oldest artifacts. It also includes a story about the ghostly presence in the museum’s original building that dates back to 1936.  Tickets are $10 for non-members and $5 for members, and the proceeds go towards the museum’s Museum Education Programs. Once tickets are purchased, a private link will be sent to view the online presentation prior to the tour.

7. Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin, Upcoming Events for October 2021

https://madisonchildrensmuseum.org/events/

Check out the list of events they have coming up for October including Baby’s First Halloween Week, Music on the Rooftop with Junebug, Beakers & Broomsticks Week, and Happy Halloween Week.

8. Crocker Art Museum, California, Monster Mash

https://www.crockerart.org/event/2764/2021-10-30

The Monster Mash, on Saturday, October 30th, is an event for families to come in costume and participate in a performance they say is full of amazement and artistic inspiration. After the performance, families are able to explore the galleries with a Halloween-inspired scavenger hunt, take a festive family portrait, and discover a magical surprise or two. Every child’s ticket includes an interactive gift bag full of non-edible treats.

9. Omaha Children’s Museum, Nebraska, Trick or Treat Days https://ocm.org/events/trick-or-treat-nights/

This museum has specific days, October 15th and 22nd, families can come in throughout the day dressed in costume, engage with the exhibits, and gather treats in a physically distanced space. The museum has extended their hours on those specific days to make families feel comfortable coming into the museum without crowds.

10. Heritage Museums & Gardens, Massachusetts, Sandwich Halloween Festival

https://heritagemuseumsandgardens.org/mecevents/sandwich-halloween-festival/

The Sandwich Halloween Festival, on October 22nd and October 23rd from 4:30pm to 8pm, has activities that include but are not limited to scavenger hunt, Creepy Science Labs, fire pits with story time, carousel rides, Glow-in-the-Dark & Carnival Games, face/hand painting, haunted maze, and fortune tellers. It is $5 per person and children 2 and under are free. Entry ends at 6:00pm. More information can be found in the link.

11. Hiller Aviation Museum, California, Halloween Haunted Hangar 2021 https://www.smccvb.com/event/halloween-haunted-hangar-2021-at-hiller-aviation-museum/7563/

Visitors can come in costume to explore the museum’s gallery in Halloween décor and participate in the “Great Pumpkin” scavenger hunt. It takes place on October 23rd and 24th, and October 30th and October 31st.

12. Bay Area Discovery Museum, California, Goblin Jamboree https://bayareadiscoverymuseum.org/visit/goblin-jamboree

This is a week-long Halloween celebration filled with activities and delightful frights. It starts on Saturday, October 23rd and ends on Sunday, October 31st, but the museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Tickets are on sale for $25 and $20 for members, and are valid for the 2.5 hours timeslot you reserve when you buy your tickets. There are two options to choose from to purchase tickets: Goblin Jamboree and Goblin Jamboree Breakfast.

13. Children’s Museum Houston, Texas, Grosstopia

https://www.cmhouston.org/news/halloween-grosstopia-2021

According to their site, it is an “ooey, gooey celebration of all things creepy and crawly” family program that lasts for 3 weeks from October 12th to October 30th. There is daily trick-or-treating, meeting friendly characters, watch chilling performances, and perform science experiments by making creepy concoctions in mad science workshops. Some of the days have specific themes and activities, and more updates may be made on the website.

Happy Halloween Month!!

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My Thoughts on a Coming Soon Museum: Museum of Broadway

October 7, 2021

        I found out a little while ago that a new museum is coming to New York City next year called the Museum of Broadway. Broadway World made an announcement stating the Museum of Broadway will open in the summer of 2022. It surprised me that there has not been a museum focused on the history of Broadway before now. During the past few years I have lived in New York, I attended some Broadway shows in these historic theaters and had wondered about the history of the theater as well as the history of Broadway in general. I am glad to hear that there will be a new museum dedicated to Broadway’s history. I have loved both history and musicals for as long as I can remember, and I would be interested to see what they do with the history of Broadway.

According to Broadway World, the interactive and immersive experience the Museum of Broadway, founded by entrepreneur and four-time Tony Award nominated producer Julie Boardman and Diane Nicoletti (founder of the award-winning experiential agency Rubik Marketing), offers guests a unique look at the rich history of Broadway, a sneak peek behind-the-scenes, and a change to personally engage with the “Game-Changing” shows that redefined Broadway forever. They also provided a brief description of what the experience would be like when it is open to the public. In their article, they stated that

At the heart of the experience, guests will travel through a visual history of Broadway from its birth to the present day highlighting theater’s pioneers, landmark moments of social change, and many of the most beloved plays and musicals of all time. Key points along the timeline will focus on the pivotal shows that transformed the landscape of Broadway, through immersive installations designed by leading contemporary visual artists and acclaimed Broadway designers. Fans will also go backstage to get a taste of “The Making of a Broadway Show,” with a special exhibit honoring the community of brilliantly talented professionals – both onstage and off – who bring Broadway plays and musicals to life every night.

It sounds like it would be a fun experience as well as an educational one. As a museum educational professional, I do wonder what their educational side of their museum operations would be like. When I visited their website, there was no mention of what they plan for school programs. I could see the programs focused on history and music including looking at the historical context of musicals.

I look forward to finding out more as it gets closer to opening day. What do you think of this new museum?

Links:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Museum-of-Broadway-Will-Open-in-Times-Square-in-Summer-2022-20210816

https://www.themuseumofbroadway.com/

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Looking for your Next Podcast to Listen to? Check out this List of Podcasts on Museums and Public History

September 16, 2021

        In recent years, I started listening to more podcasts and I decided to share a list of podcasts about museums and public history on this website I have either been familiar with over the years as a museum professional, come across for this post, or have been shared with me to share on this website. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, and that they are in no particular order. If there are ones that you do not see on this list and think they should be on this list, please contact me and let me know.

The following are podcasts discussing museums and what is going on in the museum field:

  1. Museopunks

Every month, Suse Anderson investigates the fascinating work and personalities in and around the museum sector. The hosts explore some of the sector’s most stimulating questions, institutions, and practices, with a focus on emergent, boundary-pushing work and ideas.

2. For Arts’ Sake

For Arts’ Sake podcast help people discover the difference museums can make to their lives by sharing real-life stories of leading museum professionals and professionals within the heritage sector across the UK.

3. Museums in Strange Places

Hannah Hethmon is the host of this podcast and in each episode they visit a different museum to discover its stories, discuss challenges and triumphs with fascinating museum professionals (and volunteers), and get to know each season’s country, state, or region through it museums.

4. Museum Confidential

Museum Confidential is a behind-the-scenes look at museums hosted by Jeff Martin. The show is a co-production of Philbrook Museum of Art and Public Radio Tulsa. There are new episodes every two weeks.

5. Museum People

Museum People is a NEMA-produced (New England Museum Association) podcast that celebrates individuals connected with the museum field by highlighting their work, passions, opinions, and personalities. In each episode, you’ll hear stories and viewpoints from a variety of museum people, from unsung workers to executive directors, volunteers to trustees, as they help change the world one visitor at a time.

6. Queering the Museum

Queering the Museum is an ongoing coordinated intervention into representations of LGBT/Q* people in museums. Their goal is for QTM to facilitate critical dialogues between community members and museum practitioners, addressing the role that museums play in forming social norms around gender and sexuality. They focus on museums due to their ability to shape and define the communities in which we live. QTM believes that museums have a responsibility to account for the role played in constructing normalized ideas of race, gender, and sexuality.

The following are podcasts discussing various topics in history and about public history:

  1. HistoryExtra

HistoryExtra, the official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed, has podcast episodes featuring interviews with notable historians on topics spanning ancient history through to recent British to American history. Episodes feature perspectives on everything from crusading knights to Tudor monarchs and the D-Day landings.

2. Malcolm Gladwell Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past — an event, a person, an idea, even a song — and asks whether we got it right the first time. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.

3. American Revolution Podcast

American Revolution Podcast is a weekly podcast that explores the events of the American Revolution, from beginning to end. They also have a blog that posts pictures, maps, and links to more information for each week’s episode. The link to the blog can be found here: https://blog.amrevpodcast.com

4. Ben Franklin’s World

Hosted by Liz Covert, this podcast is for people who love history and want to know more about the early American past.

5. A History of the World in 100 Objects

In this podcast, the Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, narrates 100 programs that retell humanity’s history through the objects we have made.

6. BackStory

BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly, and Joanne Freeman. They are based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.

7. National Leprechaun Museum’s Talking Stories  

Talking Stories is a podcast of stories, folklore, mythology, and chat from the Storytellers at the National Leprechaun Museum, on the 1st and 15th of every month. The National Leprechaun Museum is the first ever attraction dedicated to Irish mythology, and it opens up a fun and magical world full of fascinating folklore, mythology, and enchanting stories.

Visit the Contacts page and let me know if there are other podcasts that I should check out that are not on this list.

I’m on Buy Me a Coffee. If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee and share your thoughts.  More information about additional benefits for supporting my work can be found here: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/buy-me-a-coffee-page/

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Want to be a Supporter of this Book? A Book Project Update

August 12, 2021

I made an announcement a few months ago on the blog that I started the book writing process focused on museums and the coronavirus pandemic. According to that announcement, I believe this will be a relevant book because the pandemic has made a significant impact on all around the world especially museum workers who engage with the public both within the community and inside the museum walls. I have included the original announcement in the links below in case you missed it. Since I made the announcement, I continued to accumulate more sources to write this book.

As of this message, I have accumulated six primary sources, 13 books, 14 journals and magazines, and six articles. I am continuing to add additional sources for this book as well as reviewing them to see what I would be able to include in the book. In addition, I created a draft of an outline for the book to help plan how the book will be organized.

       To support this book, I created a Buy Me a Coffee page offering paintings, memberships, and other rewards to show my appreciation for contributing to the book project. Once the book is completed, you have the option to be named in the book in the acknowledgment section.

If you wish to make contributions, you are more than welcome to do so. You can also share the links below to introduce more people to this book project. I have also included the link to my Buy Me a Coffee site.

Thank you in advance!

Links:

Original Announcement I made about my Book Project

Buy Lindsey a Coffee!

Buy Lindsey a Coffee Information Page

POLL Results are In

September 15, 2021

Thank you to all who have responded to the previous poll! Here are the results from the two polls:

In the first poll, I wanted to learn from you what places have you been to in-person and/or virtually in the past few years to get an idea of where you all have been.

Poll results for places visited in the past few years

It seems that there are many of you who have visited museums the most followed by zoos and historic sites. In the second poll, I wanted to know what you would be most interested in reading about in a first poll supported blog post on this site.

Poll results for what readers like you want me to write about

Since Zoos and Historic Sites tied in the polls, I will release another poll for the tie breaker to see which one will I write about first. Stay tuned!

How to Remember 9/11: List of Things Museums Are Doing to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary

September 9, 2021

It has been 20 years since the attack on the World Trade Center, and I am still wrapping my head around that fact because I remember where I was when it happened and learning about the many lives that were lost that day. I wrote about my experience in a separate previous post that can be found below.  To figure out how to commemorate the 20th anniversary, I did some research to pull together a list of what museums are doing and what they are encouraging visitors to do to plan their own commemoration. The following is the list from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Museum of the City of New York:

9/11 Memorial & Museum

  1. Tribute in Light

Tribute in Light is a commemorative public art installation that was first presented six months after 9/11 and then every year thereafter, from dusk to dawn, on the night of September 11. Over the years, it has become an iconic symbol that both honors those killed and celebrates the unbreakable spirit of New York.

2. 20th Anniversary Commemoration

In the annual commemoration ceremony, family members of 9/11 victims will gather on the Memorial plaza to read aloud the names of those killed in the 9/11 attacks and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

3. The Never Forget Fund

The Never Forget Fund was set up to support the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s efforts to ensure future generations never forget the lessons of 9/11.Twenty years after the attacks that changed our world forever, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum serves as a reminder that in the face of adversity and unfathomable loss of life, our capacity for hope and potential for resilience will see us through.

4. 9/11 Memorial & Museum Anniversary in the School Webinar

Teachers and other educators have the opportunity to incorporate the lessons about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center by participating in an early access to the webinar, and having students watch the webinar and interact with the museum educators through a live chat on a virtual platform to learn about the attacks. Pre- and Post-Webinar activities are available to download. Learn more by clicking on the page here: https://www.911memorial.org/learn/students-and-teachers/anniversary-schools-webinar

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum have also compiled a list of ways one can plan their own observance. Below are the elements the Museum suggests considering when planning a 9/11 anniversary observance, and more details are available on their website.

  1. Observe Moments of Silence

Observe a moment of silence on September 11 at any or all of the times marking key moments on 9/11. Every year, the moments below are observed as part of the official 9/11 anniversary commemoration ceremony held at the World Trade Center for victims’ families.

2. Community Commemoration Assets

To help fulfill its mission never to forget, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is happy to provide media assets for your September 11 commemoration ceremony or event. Whether organizing a remembrance ceremony for your town, your workplace, or your community, you can complete the form below to receive access to archival or present-day Memorial photographs.

3. Toll Bells

Toll bells on September 11 at 8:46 a.m. or at each of the times the attacks occurred that morning.

4. Read the Names of the Victims Aloud

The names of the men, women, and children killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks have been read aloud at the official 9/11 anniversary commemoration in New York City every year. This list of names inscribed on the 9/11 Memorial includes all those killed in the 9/11 attacks and the six individuals killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

5. Lower Flags in Remembrance

Lower flags to half-staff on the anniversary of 9/11. Flags may be lowered at 8:46 a.m. to mark the moment when Flight 11 struck the North Tower.

More information is available on the 20th anniversary page of the Museum’s website.

Museum of the City of New York

  1. Twenty Years Later: Remembering 9/11 Through Documentary Film

MCNY is offering an opportunity to watch the documentary about remembering 9/11 twenty years after it happened. Click on the link to learn more: https://www.mcny.org/event/twenty-years-later-remembering-911-through-documentary-film

Links:

Remembering 9/11: 18 years later

Plan Your Own Observance

9/11 Memorial & Museum Twenty Years Later

Virtual Museum Impressions: Fort Ticonderoga, New York

September 2, 2021

        As the summer is winding down, I decided to take another virtual trip and I chose to visit Fort Ticonderoga located in Ticonderoga, New York. Fort Ticonderoga exists today to preserve, educate and provoke active discussion about the past and its importance to present and future generations; and they work on fostering an on-going dialogue surrounding citizens, soldiers, and nations through America’s military heritage. It preserves 2,000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and has the largest series of untouched Revolutionary War era earthworks surviving in America.

The first thing I did was I joined the History Camp America tour of Fort Ticonderoga led by Stuart Lilie, the Vice President of Public History at Fort Ticonderoga. Since I was a participant in the virtual History Camp America conference, I had access to this tour and was able to revisit the tour if I chose to do so. Lilie started the tour by providing an introduction to the history of Fort Ticonderoga. According to Lilie, the word Ticonderoga comes from the Mohawk word that means a place between the waters. Fort Ticonderoga sits between Lake George and Lake Champlain; specifically, he was standing where Lake George drains north into the LaChute River and the waterfalls drop two hundred and twenty feet into Lake Champlain.

Fort Ticonderoga was originally known as Fort Carillon when the French used the fort as a defense against British invasion during the Seven Years War (it was also called the French and Indian War). It was renamed Fort Ticonderoga after the British blew it up and General Lampert renamed the ruins Fort Ticonderoga then began the reconstruction. During the American Revolution, Ethan Allen, and his band of Green Mountain Boys, accompanied by Benedict Arnold, who held a commission from Massachusetts, attacked the British stationed there and took over the Fort on May 10, 1775. The British later recaptured Fort Ticonderoga and later abandoned it after the end of the Revolutionary War in 1781. Fort Ticonderoga became a site for tours beginning in 1909.

        Lilie continued the virtual tour by showing viewers around Fort Ticonderoga to demonstrate what they do with visitors each day they are open. For instance, he had a discussion with reenactors about tailoring soldiers’ uniforms. He also had discussions with reenactors about shoemaking and gardening. Participants were also able to see some of the artifacts from the vast collection at Fort Ticonderoga. It was really cool to see inside the Thompson Pell Research Center where they hold their collections and view artifacts that they catalogued and stored most of their artifacts and documents to give us an idea of warfare at Fort Ticonderoga. Some artifacts include but are not limited to rare books which document the art of war and military science published in Europe and North America, textiles (i.e., camp flag of Loyalist-colonists on the side of the British-group), fine art, shovels, axes, ceramics from England, France, and China, wine bottle fragments, shoe buckles, over 2,000 decorative buttons, and pipe fragments. We also were able to see the Carion battlefield which the Fort Ticonderoga staff today preserve the long history of where the battles took place. Once I finished this virtual tour, I visited their Center of Digital History on their website.

At the Center of Digital History, I was able to see virtual exhibitions, their online collections database, and explored their YouTube channel which offers options for at home activities and an in-depth look into the collections and discussions. The virtual exhibitions include a sample of artifacts that are included in the in-person exhibitions and background information about the exhibits. Some of the virtual exhibitions include but are not limited to A Patriotic Service: Sarah Pell’s Enduring Legacy which focuses on Sarah Gibbs Thompson Pell who devoted her life to advancing the rights of women through historic preservation and political action; Object Lessons: Perspectives on Material Culture; Iron and Stone: Building Fort Carillon which focuses on the construction of Fort Carillon; and Ticonderoga, A Legacy. While I appreciated learning a little bit of Fort Ticonderoga history in each of the exhibitions, I would have liked to explore more of the exhibit in a virtual space.

         In addition to the virtual experience, Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation, boat cruises, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year; they are open to the public May through October. I would like to at some point visit Fort Ticonderoga to see more of what they have to offer in person.

Have you been to Fort Ticonderoga before? If you have, please let me know what your experience was like.

I’m on Buy Me a Coffee. If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee and share your thoughts.  More information about additional benefits for supporting my work can be found here: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/buy-me-a-coffee-page/

Reminder: The poll is still active. If you have not answered the poll, check it out here: https://wp.me/p8J8yQ-1tk

Links:

https://www.fortticonderoga.org/

https://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn-and-explore/center-for-digital-history/

https://www.historycamp.org/

History Camp America: A Public Historian’s Experience during Virtual History Conference

July 29, 2021

History Camp America platform

        Earlier this month I attended History Camp America, which was their first national History Camp virtual conference. It is produced by The Pursuit of History, a non-profit organization that engages adults in conversation about history and connects them with historic sites in their communities, and across the country through innovative in-person and online programming. There were more than 45 sessions that included but were not limited to presentations, historic site tours, history walks, culinary history demonstrations, trivia, and yoga. According to their website, this conference is designed to be a casual conference for adults, teenagers and children that are students, teachers, professors, authors, bloggers, reenactors, interpreters, museum and historical society directors and board members, genealogists, and everyone else, regardless of profession or degree, who is interested in and wants to learn more about history.

         Like previous virtual conferences, they were hosted on platforms designed to run their conferences; History Camp used the event automation Pheedloop which made organizing conferences, meetings, and trade shows easy with event management software that powers everything from mobile apps, registration, touch-free check-in, and live streaming, to floor plans, sponsors, badge printing, and networking since 2015. I decided to attend History Camp this year after I discovered their website because I wanted to learn what a conference that is not hosted by a museum association would be like to experience. I also wanted to participate in something that appeals to my interested in history and that is different from professional development programs I have attended in the past.  It is also important for history and museum professionals in the field to see how people are currently studying history and how they are interpreting history since the history and museum field are discussing the 250th commemoration of American Independence and a part of the discussion about the commemoration is to work on helping the people learn how to do history, in other words how to do their own historical research of the communities they live in. The following are a sample of sessions I attended during History Camp America.

        One of the sessions I attended was Saunkskwa, Sachem, Minister: native kinship and settler church kinship in 17th and 18th-century New England led by Lori Rogers-Stokes, an independent scholar of 17th-century New England and the author of Records of Trial from Thomas Shepard’s Church in Cambridge, 1683-1649: Heroic Souls (published by Palgrave Macmillan). Rogers-Stokes shared her work in process research by discussing the political records and Congregational church records from 17th-century Massachusetts. Her presentation focused on sharing the similarities and differences she found on how the Algonquin people and English colonists defined and valued kinship; she revealed that, according to her research, the puritan church defined kinship in a similar way to indigenous kinship which led her to believe there was a potential connection that could have been a fruitful common ground for cooperation and respect but was unfortunately lost.  I thought the content was interesting and I chose to attend this session because I wanted to expand my knowledge on indigenous history; while the session focused on comparing the Algonquin people and English colonists views on kinship, it is an introduction to the Algonquin culture and history. I look forward to hearing about her completed work on this research.

         Once that session was complete, I moved on to a short spotlight session introducing The Daily Bellringer created by Jared Bruening. The Daily Bellringer provides short video overviews of U.S. History topics, and they are designed to be used for grades 5-12 as warm-ups, reviews, or introductions to content. I will go more in depth about The Daily Bellringer in a future post. This was not the only spotlight that occurred during History Camp America.

         There was also a spotlight on History Dame created by Larisa Moran who is a history blogger and creator of History In Under A Minute©. History In Under A Minute is a series on YouTube that discusses a variety of topics in history in less than a minute.  She is also a volunteer with The Pursuit of History and regional editor for The History List, the platform historical societies, historic sites, and other organizations use to attract and engage visitors and members through things including but not limited to listings of programs and exhibits, and resources for organizations of all sizes that provide research, tool, and insight to support history programming across the country. I will also explore more of History Dame in a future post.

        Another session I attended was “Thrown into the pits”: how were the bodies of the nineteen hanged Salem “witches” really treated? and the speaker was Marilynne K. Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, and Six Women of Salem. She is a member of the Gallows Hill Group that verified the location of the hangings, a discovery Archaeology magazine hailed as one of 2016’s top ten discoveries in the world. Roach discussed her experience taking a closer look at the court records that may disprove assumptions of what happened to the bodies of those hung during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. I thought this was an important session to attend not only because of my interest in Salem’s history but this is an example of why historical research is significant. Popular accounts starting with 19th century historian Charles Upham’s statement that the deceased were “undoubtedly all thrown into pits dug among the rocks” were usually based in available resources or lack thereof, and when records are discovered the interpretation begins to change to reflect what the primary sources state about moments in history such as the Salem Witch Trials.

       During lunch, there was a demonstration and a short session that focus on the history of food. In this demonstration, Chef Justin Cherry cooked a recipe for crab cake in Dressed Crab – An Early American Favorite and participants had access to the recipe so they could follow along making their own crab cake. Chef Justin Cherry is the Chef/Owner of Half Crown Bakehouse which is a mobile 18th-century clay oven that specializes in colonial foodways. The recipe he used during the demonstration came from a manuscript written by Anne Chase in 1811; Anne Chase was the daughter of Samuel Chase, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I thought it was interesting since not only participants learn more about history, but they can also prepare their own crab cakes as they watch. To my memory, I have not participated in a demonstration like this one before.

      In the next demonstration, Sarah Lohman shared photographs and discussed the history of soda fountains in Soda Fountain Favorites. Sarah Lohman is a culinary historian and the author of the bestselling book Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, and she focuses on the history of food as a way to access the stories of diverse Americans. She focused her presentation on food history in New York and provided recipes of the classic sodas she talked about so participants can make them at home. Lohman shared stories behind some of the favorite fountain drinks including the egg cream and the popularity of seltzer, Dr. Brown’s Soda (specifically Cel-Ray), the Lime Rickey, and the Purple Cow. During the session, I recalled the first time I tried an egg cream when I first visited my then boyfriend (now husband) on Long Island.

        After attending the sessions live, I decided to take advantage of the recorded sessions so I can revisit the sessions and listen to other sessions that I did not attend on the day of the conference. I included a pdf file of the itinerary History Camp released to provide an idea of topics that were discussed, tours given, and demonstrations performed. I will also elaborate in future posts about other sessions I attended and tours of historic sites I participated in.

I’m on Buy Me a Coffee. If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee and share your thoughts.  More information about additional benefits for supporting my work can be found here: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/buy-me-a-coffee-page/

Links:

A Public Historian Explores History Camp

History Camp

Pheedloop

The History List

History Camp America Session Schedule

Reflections on Museum Education Since COVID Part 2: Shared Challenges Around the World During the Pandemic

July 15, 2021

One of my previous blog posts I posted shared reflections on the museum education since the pandemic reached the United States. Since this pandemic has made an impact on all of us around the world, I thought I would share information from museum associations outside of the United States. It is important for U.S. museum professionals to remember that we can learn from museums outside of the United States for ways to deal with challenges in the field. One of the most recent examples of museums learning from one another is how to continually serve the communities we are a part of while the current coronavirus pandemic has changed how we interact in the world. Each museum association I have been following released resources to help museum professionals engage with their communities while we continue to face the pandemic.

         The first one I follow is Museums Association (MA).  The MA was established in 1889 which made it the oldest museums association in the world, and it represents 14,000 individual members, 1,800 museums and 300 commercial members. According to their website, a small group of museum professionals founded Museums Association to foster mutual cooperation among curators and institutions. During the pandemic, Museums Association released a statement on extending emergency Covid measures; they stated:

The Museums Association is fighting hard to ensure museums get the support and investment    they need to see them through the Covid pandemic. In light of the ongoing nature of the crisis, we are calling on the UK and devolved governments to extend the emergency measures that have been so essential to the sector during this time.

I included a link to their full statement in the list below. The MA released some resources in addition to their statement. They shared some considerations to put in place before welcoming visitors back that came from the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) good practices guidelines; the purpose of the guidelines is to set out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England and explains how restrictions will be eased over time. There are nine considerations that museums need to remember; some of the considerations are Government has clearly announced that museums and galleries can reopen; Workforce safety and wellbeing can be supported; Public safety can be assured; and Museums are confident that visitors will return, and they can provide services in keeping with their public purpose. When there are updates needed to be made to the guidelines, they made notes of where on the guidelines it was changed and what was updated. The full guidelines document is available on the NMDC website.

         The International Council of Museums (ICOM), according to their website, is an international organization of museums and museum professionals which is committed to the research, conservation, continuation, and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible, and intangible. ICOM is the only global organization in the museum field. They also released a few resources on the pandemic and re-opening the museum. One of the resources they released was “Museums and end of lockdown: Ensuring the safety of the public and staff”, and in this page the basic measures are organized into seven categories including preparing for the arrival of the public, public access—adapting the flow of visitors, and in the office. I included a few of the measures from their page here:

PREPARING FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE PUBLIC

  • Define a maximum number of visitors per exhibition room and inform the public (it is recommended to set a maximum number of people per square meters to allow a safety distance of 1.5 m between each visitor)
  • Consider a gradual reopening of exhibitions
  • As far as possible, set up a booking system (online, by phone and/or by e-mail). Set up an online ticketing system. Online tickets can be scanned by visitors themselves at the entrance to the museum

PUBLIC ACCESS – ADAPTING THE FLOW OF VISITORS

  • Avoid or manage lines at entrances and counters
  • Consider ground markings for lines to ensure that the recommended distance of 1.5 m is maintained
  • Close the cloakrooms requiring the presence of staff (lockers can remain available if they are disinfected regularly between uses) to avoid unnecessary handling and contact

IN THE OFFICE

  • Consider sustainable adaptation of emergency plans
  • Extend work loans to minimize movement, handling, and transportation
  • Common equipment used by several staff members will need to be disinfected regularly. In the absence of disinfection standards, this equipment shall not be used

They also pointed out that if museums are not in the position to respond to the measures, then the museums should extend their temporary closings.

       Another museum organization I follow is Museums Galleries Scotland. I first became aware of them when I was asked to be a speaker in their webinar about the future of museum education last year. Museums Galleries Scotland, according to their website, is the National Development Body for the Scottish museums sector. They support 419 museums and galleries, through strategic investment, advice, advocacy, skills development, et. cetera. I saw on their website they released a page of resources titled “Coronavirus Guidance for Museums” which is divided into three categories: Operational Guidance, Reopening Guidance, and Remote Working and Online Engagement. One of their pages included “Business continuity during COVID-19” which provide information for museums currently dealing with the effects of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus outbreak; some of information focused on financial support, business continuity advice, and best practice to follow.

     The above examples I shared is only a sample of what museum associations outside of the United States are distributing on their websites. If there are any resources that you do not see here, please share in the comments below.

I’m on Buy Me a Coffee. If you like my work, you can buy me a coffee and share your thoughts.  More information about additional benefits for supporting my work can be found here: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/buy-me-a-coffee-page/

Links:

Reflections on Museum Education Since COVID Arrived in the United States Part 1

Museums Association

MA Latest Statement

MA COVID-19 Page

MA Reopening Museums Good Practice Guidelines

MA Learning and Engagement Manifesto

NMDC Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums

International Council of Museums

ICOM Museums and the End of Lockdown

ICOM How to Reach your Public Remotely

ICOM Smart Museums to Face the Crisis

Museum Galleries Scotland

MGS Coronavirus Guidance for Museums