In a manner of speaking, that is! On October 4, I traveled to Minneapolis to attend the Oral History Association annual meeting, a multi-day event attended by historians, scholars, authors and more. The meeting included a variety of events including panel discussions, paper presentations, performances, workshops and listening sessions.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Jill Lepore, a professor of American History at Harvard whose work includes The Story of America: Essays on Origins, The Secret History of Wonder Woman and Joe Gould’s Teeth, the story of a man who believed himself to be a great historian and who set about to record everything everyone said to him, all the time. Although mentally ill, Gould was interested in the lives and experiences of everyday people, which many of us who do oral history are keenly interested in, as well. You don’t have to be famous to have a great story to tell!
For me, the biggest highlight of the conference was presenting about the Cure Porch on Wheels. My presentation was part of a panel entitled “Beyond the Walls: Engaging Audiences Inside and Outside the Museum.” It was an excellent opportunity for me to share our designs, inspiration, and plans for use with OHA members. The other presenters on the panel, Ellen Brooks from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and Kathleen Klehr of Scott County (MN) Historical Society, had fascinating work to share and between the three of us, I believe we gave the audience an excellent view of the kinds of programming and projects that may be done when you get outside the museum walls and connect with the community around you.
Travel to the conference was made possible by grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Opportunities such as these, where I may share the Cure Porch with an audience from around the country, are very unique and special, especially as we try to raise interest and funds! Questions and comments after the presentation affirmed my belief that this project is one that can and will be of great benefit to our community and will help us all celebrate the fantastic history and people of Saranac Lake.
To support the porch and learn more, please visit: https://www.razoo.com/story/CurePorch
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.