Today is one of those days in the small Museum field when you never feel like you have enough time. In between volunteer training, helping with a mailing, a conference call, budget work, membership programming, and more all in one day, things can feel a little hectic.
So when you hear that visitors are walking up the walk an hour after you've closed sometimes you have to take a deep breath to calm down. It is my policy that if at all possible in my schedule, I let visitors in. In the end, aren't they the reason we're here? So turning them away is something I do my absolute best to avoid.
This afternoon I took a break from catching up on emails and the long list of other stuff to field one man's questions about Laurel. He came with his two sons and he had found somewhere on the internet information quoting Gertrude Poe that had to do with an old exhibit. After trying to find the information he had found and showing him more information on that exhibit, we convinced him he should do a tour.
So I had the opportunity to show him and his two inquisitive sons around the museum. The sons were the first kids to the exhibit that I've been able to work with one on one and we did the scavenger hunt while I talked with their father about the "big" themes present in the exhibit. The father, a longtime Laurel resident, was genuinely excited to learn about the Mill and the history of the house. He marveled at how clear the images from 1910 were and the entire family was excited to see an image of the old Laurel High School, a place they are quite familiar with in their lives today.
After showing them the exhibit and the basement, I let them leave with their hands full of our kid's pamphlets, walking tours, program material, and more. It was very exciting to give a tour to a family that was genuinely interested in the history of Laurel. It almost made me forget that it is supposed to snow tonight!