Friday, April 16, 2010

An Intern's Perspective

Our Spring Intern, Bethany Hyers is working on helping us organize for our upcoming exhibit on the Laurel Race Track. She has been charged with scanning images from our collection and attaching the files to Past Perfect records. She also has done background research on different exhibits on racetracks.

Here is a personal perspective on how she connects to her work at the LHS:

This spring I am interning here at the Laurel Museum to learn about collections. Currently I am set with the task of helping with the 2011 upcoming Laurel Race Track exhibit by updating records so as to streamline the design process. Despite my childhood love for horses, I am not an avid horse race watcher nor do I have much previous knowledge about the Laurel Race Track specifically. I was given the task of researching past exhibits of race tracks that have been done in other museums and I realized that the Triple Crown is coming up in a couple of weeks (May 1st to be exact)! This realization made me think of how the Laurel Race Track got other people excited for the races and what those races meant for them. I think that the online research, finding extremely interesting photographs of people at the track, and the realization of the upcoming Derby that increased my personal connection with this project.

The Kentucky Derby is becoming a new family tradition with more and more in attendance each year. My grandmother - the reason for all the excitement - used to bet on Kentucky Derby horses with her boss when she worked in Washington DC. And ever since then she has always had a love of the Kentucky Derby which has slowly become my love as well. It is always on the calendar of family events.

Derby Day. My dad is charged with the duty of making the mint juleps while my grandma prepares herself for the race by wearing her version of a Kentucky Derby hat and watching the pre-show. (Her hat is not as extravagant as the hat worn by the women at the actual derby since it is a sunhat but it does the job.)This hat, a black and white straw fiber hat that reminds me of a casual version of a church hat, always makes it debut on Derby Day.

As the horses are being led up to the gate, my grandma and I choose the ones we are going to shout for. I tend to base my choice more on the name and look of the horse while my grandma uses a more sophisticated process. (I don’t think my horse has ever won except once. Maybe I should consider changing my picking strategy?)

The opening of the gates starts the cheering and shouting for your horse. It is almost like the room holds its breath (if you can forget the shouting) while the race goes. This atmosphere reminds me of a photograph in the collections of a woman holding her binoculars with a look of anticipation and hopefulness toward the track. I feel like that is a more glamorous version of what goes on at my Grandma’s and what I imagine happens every horse race everywhere.

I think I will always have fond memories of my grandma shouting at the TV with her sunhat-Derby hat on for her horse to win. And so as I update Laurel race track records I remember the excitement of Derby Day and how the atmosphere of horse racing is captured by these photographs.

No comments:

Post a Comment