Friday, January 29, 2010

Exhibit Progress Update!

The exhibit is in its final days of production. This past week we've finalized how everything is going to look with the consultants. Whew, what a relief. No more choosing images, editing text, or figuring out of captions.

in theory, I can take a break and relax while our consultants make sure the exhibit is printed and looks pretty before they come down and we install. Oh, only in theory.

For the first time on my gmail I produced a list of tasks. It's a function I have never used because I've always thought it would stress me out more seeing the tasks just sitting there. But there is so much that needs to be done before (or very nearly before) the exhibit opens that I knew I would lose track if I didn't keep a list. So here's the list I currently have up. As you can tell--I'm making progress!

Exhibit Opening

  • Exhibit Opening Basket
  • Shop Postcards
  • Cards for Giveaway
  • Interpretive Plan
  • Community Groups Interactive
  • Food/Drinks/Opening Stuff
  • kids booklet
  • Exhibit Rack Cards
  • Contributors Invitations
  • Exhibit Website Info
  • Lesson Plans/Scavenger Hunts

As you can also tell, there is a lot of stuff still on the list. Wish me luck!

Because I know you are all very excited to hear more about the exhibit, I've included the "long version" of our press release on the exhibit. Written by Karen Lubieniecki, it gives a great overview of what the exhibit will be about.

And if all goes well, next week I'll post pictures of the exhibit as a sneak preview!

New Exhibit Explores Community and Its Meaning.

Snapshots in Time: Our Community in 1910 and 2010 Opens February 7, 2010.

Snapshots in Time: Our Community in 1910 and 2010 a new exhibit focusing on community and its many meanings opens February 7 at the Laurel Museum in Laurel, Md. The exhibit uses photos from the Museum’s historic Sadler Collection taken in the early 1900s and contemporary photos. It challenges visitors to examine their own ideas of “What is Community?” by comparing and contrasting how these are the same or have changed in the past 100 years.

According to Laurel Historical Society Executive Director Lindsey Baker, “We are very excited about our next exhibit. In our rapidly changing society, connecting present day people with a town’s past is a major challenge for history organizations. Asking “What is a community” is one way to do that. Snapshots in Time had a lot of input from community groups during its development, but even more importantly, will continue to encourage visitor contributions. We hope those who come to the new exhibit will take the opportunity to ask themselves how they define community today and how that may be the same or different from 100 years ago.”

The exhibit begins by asking us to See Ourselves. Looking at photos ranging from a Muslim children reenacting the Hajj to children lighting a candle for the first night of Hanukah to a circa 1910 photo of friends will help visitors to consider which (or how many) of these define how they see their personal community, versus how this was reflected 100 years ago. This section will also feature a display of photographer Bert Sadler’s turn of the century cameras – and contemporary cameras illustrating how much has changed in how we document our communities.

Visitors then explore what we Value. This section explores the groups and activities that reflect our values. A local Catholic Church conducts a baptism, families gather for picnics, we remember September 11, a community celebrates Emancipation Day and a high school class graduates. Looking at photos of gatherings from the past, and today, visitors consider what activities and values we place in highest regard.

Section three looks at broader community interactions and is called Help. It suggests that communities help others in many ways. Boy Scouts bond and Girl Scouts help each other. A local pharmacist gives a shot.

Fun is the focus of the next section. Laurel’s A 1900s marathon, a recent 4th of July parade and a quiet moment at the piano remind us of the many ways people celebrate and have fun in their community. Kids play sports – hockey and baseball.

The exhibits’ final area, Demographic, takes a closer look at population of Laurel as it stood in 1910 and 2010, exploring its changing demographics and increasingly diverse population. In 1910, for example only 7% of the population Laurel population of 2500 was African American. There were, according to the 1910 Census, two Chinese families. Today African Americans make up 43% of the population, while 11 % are of Hispanic background and 6% are Asian.

Snapshots in Time also includes a number of interactive elements including “Self Portrait”and “Your Vote Counts” which will poll visitors on their personal preferences “Are you a Redskins or Raven’ Fan?” for example, and questions designed for children.

Support for the exhibit was provided by Prince George’s County and the office of Councilman Tom Dernoga.

The Laurel Museum is open Wednesday and Fridays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., and Sundays 1:00-4:00 pm.Laurel Museum is located at 817 Main Street, Laurel, Md. For more information and directions visit or call 301-725-7975. ## Group tours are available by special arrangement. Admission is free, and there is a museum gift shop on the lower level.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Appreciating Our Volunteers

This past weekend we had our annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. Held at Jhanna Levin's Home, Harmony House, we celebrated the contributions of our volunteers throughout the year.

This event is always a little tricky because many of our volunteers help with the planning and the actual execution of the event. So I am very thankful to those volunteers for helping me thank the other volunteers. See, tricky!

The first thing we always do for this event is identify the 5 year volunteers. These volunteers have served the organization for five long years and for their service, we like to honor them by bringing them to the front of the crowded home we have the event in and giving them a token of appreciation. This year's five year volunteers were: Frieda Weise, Jerry Chappell, and Beverley Jacobs. They are all great volunteers and we REALLY appreciate all that they do!

The other part of the event is a surprise. We announce our Volunteer of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year is chosen with the input of the Executive Committee, the Assistant to the Director, the Executive Director, and the retired Volunteer Coordinator. This year there was actually some tough competition with 3 volunteers being considered. All 3 of these volunteers do great work. I won't name the 2 runners-up because they just might win next year!

The Volunteer we ended up choosing was chosen for her above and beyond commitment to the Laurel Historical Society over the last year. This volunteer sits on at least 2 or 3 committees and is always ready and willing to do the work that needs to get done. She is always one of the first people to volunteer for special events and special tours. She is in the process of photographing the entire (yes, ENTIRE) collection. And she is our Research Volunteer who mans the Research Library and responds to the myriad of requests we receive. She has, in short, become one of my top "go-to" volunteers. Her name is Frances Brooks and we're VERY privileged to have her volunteering for the organization.

When I was giving Frances the award at the Volunteer Appreciation Event, she made me tear up a little bit. It was exciting to see someone who works so hard all of the time and never expects any recognition be surprised that people noticed her efforts. Of course, it reminded me that I need to keep telling all of my volunteers how great of a job they do all of the time.

Overall it was a great event. I left full of sweets and cheese and thankful for the wonderful group of volunteers that choose to help the LHS become the great organization it is today!