As a first-time attendee, I was amazed by the range of topics covered in sessions. In some time slots more than a dozen concurrent panels were offered, making it difficult to decide just which learning opportunity I should seize. While every session I sat-in on was informative, there were two or three that particularly resonated with me. This week I have been reflecting on what I learned at the AAM meeting, and thought I might share some of my "take-home messages" with you all. In the coming weeks and months I hope you will see how these ideas are being applied here at home at LCHS.
Make your house museum a home museum. We are fortunate to have access to the beautiful McConnell Mansion, a Victorian house that accurately depicts the upper-middle class aesthetics of the late-19th century and provides a space where the everyday material culture of the McConnell and Adair families can be presented. The current interpretation of the Mansion, however, limits the sorts of stories we can tell about Latah County's history. As we invite guests to look around a neatly organized and well appointed house, we may be educating them on the furniture styles of 1886, but we are missing an opportunity to examine how the inhabitants really spent their time. One presenter at the Conference encouraged house museums to put debris in the wastebaskets or leave a quilt untucked on a child's bed. House museums only feel sterile because we curate them so differently from our own homes. I know this is a theme that also resonated with our Museum Curator, and he will certainly be putting the lessons he learned into making the McConnell Mansion a more intriguing home (not house) to visit.
|AAM President Dr. Ford Bell welcoming fellowship recipients at the Conference|
|A spectacular view of the Seattle from the Space Needle|
|Museum Curator Zach Wnek presented his work with QR codes at the Emerging Innovator's Forum, where I also shared my work utilizing HistoryPin.com|
Want to know more? I'd love to chat with you about my experiences at AAM! Feel free to call, email, or stop by the Annex.