On Sunday, May 7, armed with posters, a toy truck, and more, I set out for St Louis, Missouri, site of this year's annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums. The AAM meeting is a big, fun, wildly informative event. It draws museum professionals from all over the world, representing an incredible variety of organizations and businesses geared towards supporting museums. I'm already looking forward to next year!
I had the opportunity to participate in the Emerging Innovators Forum, a two hour program for new-ish museum professionals to present about exciting new projects and concepts. Many thanks to AAM and in particular COMPT for selecting our project!
My table offered informational posters about what the Traveling Cure Porch is, why we are working on such a project, and what we plan to do with it. I even had information on what a cure porch is. I also designed a "map" of sites of historical interest in the Saranac Lake area that the traveling porch might visit, including the Hotel Saranac, Will Rogers, and the Winter Carnival Ice Palace. Visitors to the table rolled a die and were able to move the truck to the corresponding spot and receive a small card to take home with them, featuring information about that site. People had fun driving the little truck and chatting about the wealth of great history we have here.
The end of April and the beginning of May is proving to be a busy time for everyone here at Historic Saranac Lake. Our Museum Administrator Chessie and Executive Director Amy have been putting the finishing touches on our upcoming exhibit on hotels of the 1920s, while a temporary exhibit of John Wheeler's models of historical buildings in Saranac Lake is proving to be incredibly popular.
On the Traveling Cure Porch front, the theme right now is travel! Last week, I spent a few days in New York City, attending a conference about oral history. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear about the projects that other organizations are working on, as well as chat with other professionals from around the Mid-Atlantic region. I made sure to tell everyone I spoke with about the Traveling Cure Porch and I certainly got some excited responses! One of the major themes among practitioners of oral history is collecting and sharing the incredible and meaningful stories of people in our communities. Those stories are what make oral history the vibrant discipline that it is and the Traveling Cure Porch will be a great way to conduct interviews and share stories.
Next week, I'll be flying off to St Louis for another conference, the annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). This time, I will presenting about the Traveling Cure Porch! On Tuesday, May 9, I will be part of AAM's Emerging Innovators Forum. The forum is a two hour event giving museum professionals the opportunity to present about their projects and research. I have a great display about the Traveling Cure Porch ready to go, including a fun game to teach visitors more about a few of Saranac Lake's historical sites. Watch the blog for photos and an update after I return!
Saranac Lake is finally feeling some warmth and with the arrival of fine weather, more and more people are getting outside. For some of us, that means time spent on our porches, enjoying the fresh air.
Here at HSL, we're also thinking about porches, every day, as we plan our Traveling Cure Porch! As many of you know, HSL received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to assist with the development of the Traveling Cure Porch. This helps HSL work with consultants on the concept and design of the porch, as well as travel to various conferences to present about the Traveling Cure Porch. Every step of the way, we are learning a lot about mobile exhibits, vehicles, structural design and so much more!
Currently, we are working on transforming rough sketches into something more concrete. We've been meeting with various consultants about how to bring our porch dreams to reality. I'll be presenting about the Traveling Cure Porch at the upcoming American Alliance of Museums annual meeting in St Louis. I'm looking forward to sharing our ideas with museum colleagues from around the country, as well as getting valuable feedback!
We'll keep you updated on our progress through this blog, as well as on our facebook page. We're excited to share this exciting project with you!
Oral History Coordinator
Historic Saranac Lake is developing the Cure Porch on Wheels, an exciting mobile exhibit space that will allow HSL to present mini exhibitions and oral history projects to audiences at locations throughout the area.