Year end

The final #reverb10 prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

The central story of my practice of public history is varied. I am very happy for the variety of volunteer and work experiences I’ve had in the past year. My experiences, thoughts, and ideas have been shared through twitter and this blog in the past year. In the new year, I hope to continue to expand the ways I connect with those in the heritage field. Overall, the my #reverb10 reflections highlight the enthusiasm I have for heritage and my desire to continue growing in the field.

Expansion in Heritage

December 28th’s #reverb10 prompt was:
Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

Next year I would like to expand my involvement in local heritage and be part of a heritage preservation project. I plan on working on making connections in my relatively new community. I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge base and commitment to public history. There are plenty of opportunities to gain new skills in the heritage field. In the new year, I am volunteering to help a local arts collective with grant proposals. Considering the importance of grants in heritage I feel that this will be a great opportunity to continue to expand my skills.

Photo Recall

December 25th’s #reverb10 prompt: Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

Thia prompt reminded me of a number of the great photographs I’ve come across during my work in the past year. Here are a couple of examples:


The Brutis Office falling through the ice on Lake Huron. Photo is part of the collection held by the Thessalon Union Public Library.

This newspaper clipping is also held by the Thessalon Public Library and shows a local OPP officer baby sitting a cougar.

This final photograph shows Thessalon in its hay day. There are many photographs which highlight the vibrancy of this town during the era which was dominated by lumbering. It’s a stark contrast to the quiet small town it has become.

Heritage Travel

The #reverb10 prompt for December 22nd was:
Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and or where would you like to travel next year?

In 2011 I would like to visit Mackinac Island in Michigan. The island is rich in built heritage and is relatively close to my home. Mackinac Island has prohibited the use of motorized vehicles for over a century and the use of horse drawn transportation increases the old time feel of the Island. The Island is home to Fort Mackinac which is Michigan’s only Revolutionary War era fort. Additionally, much of the downtown core of the Island contains well preserved heritage buildings.

Lessons learned

December 21st’s #reverb10 prompt was:

Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

The advice I would give myself for the year ahead is to be open to opportunities and to have faith that things will work out. There is no shortage of ways to expand knowledge and skills if you are open to trying new things and actively searching for new resources.

Advice I would give myself ten years ago: Listen to the interesting stories and personal histories of the elderly people you meet. Very few people write down their personal histories. Oral history is well worth listening to and preserving.

Heritage reading

December 20th’s #reverb10 prompt:

Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

In 2010 I have avoided dedicating more time to reading academic writing relevant to my field. The majority of the material I have read outside of work in 2010 was fiction. Granted, a large percentage of the fiction has been historical fiction but that really doesn’t measure up to academic reading. One deterrent to academic reading has been my lack of direction in what to read. Picking specific topics I would like to know more about would help give my reading purpose and structure.

Topics I would like to explore through reading in 2011 include:
-Material culture
-Built heritage
-Collective memory
-The interaction of First Nation heritage and public history

Healing and restoration

December 19th’s #reverb10 prompt was:

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

This prompt brought to mind heritage restoration and the ‘healing’ of heritage buildings. Ideally, heritage preservation comes prior to extreme restoration efforts. Depending on the state of the building, heritage restoration allows for the integrity of historical features to be maintained and in some cases assists in the preservation of the built heritage.

Ideally the healing component of restoration would include repairing a building in a way that is true to the architecture of the era. Replacing original windows with new energy efficient windows that are made in the style of the original windows or repairing and reinforcing the original windows are a couple of examples of heritage restoration and preservation.

Writing in 2011

The #reverb10 prompt for December 18th was:

Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did/didn’t go for it?

Next year I want to try to write more. I would like to continue to blog on a frequent basis and write about heritage issues that inspire me. I need to remind myself the benefits of writing and work on making a commitment to writing. Additionally, I would like to explore other avenues for my writing.

In 2010 I wanted to try to gain more experience in the heritage field. This year, I managed to gain a lot through volunteering and reaching out to others working heritage. I’m happy I took the initiative and time to volunteer with a variety of organizations as it opened many doors and allowed me to gain new skills.

Capturing 2010

December 15th’s #reverb10 prompt:

5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

I have so many worthwhile heritage memories from this year, but these are the ones that I thought of in the five minute limit:

-The connections I’ve made in the heritage field.
-The kindness of those involved with the CDP and OurOntario
-The image of my parents dressed up in historical costumes during our visit to Fort St. Joseph.
-The skills I’ve learned this year — project documentation, administration, and employee management techniques
-How the Sault canal looked when completely drained of water.
-The feeling of joy I had when I found out about my new job.
-My appreciation of natural heritage, particularly seeing the Agawa Canyon, the view from the Terry Fox memorial, and everything involving Basswood Lake.
-The support from friends and family when venturing into new territory, be it physically moving or taking on a new project.
-The small town moments: a community day parade that was mostly ATVs, a sign that boasts the fact that the KFC can seat forty people, hand delivered mail, a northern Ontario fish fry, and people saying hi to everyone they see on the street.
-Presenting at a conference isn’t as scary as it seems.
-The most frustrating problems often contribute the most rewarding successes.
-My foray into community history and heritage.

Appreciating collaboration

Today’s #reverb10 prompt:

December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

I have come to appreciate the value of collaboration and interdisciplinary work. Collaboration can take far more effort, coordination, and time than a non-collaborative project. This year proved to me the benefits of collaboration outweigh the occasional headache.

I also learned to appreciate the importance of structure in a collaborative partnership. Even if all partners involved have an equal stake in the project it is essential that someone take on a leadership role and have the power to make decisions when needed. I have also learned to appreciate the importance of communication during collaboration, without open and reliable communication even the most promising collabrative project can stall or go awry.