September 18, 2015

Visiting the Connecticut Historical Society

I met with Jody Blankenship, Executive Director of the Connecticut Historical Society, and Ilene Frank, Chief Curator, on September 3 to update them on The History List, including the new weekly statewide history events mailing, discuss other projects that we might tackle together, and get a tour of their museum.  Jody was named executive director a little less than a year earlier, recruited from a post at the Kentucky Historical Society, and Ilene Frank was recruited in in May of this year from the Rensselaer County Historical Society in Troy, N.Y., where she had been the executive director.  

I first met Jody on a visit to the Kentucky Historical Society in August 2012.  I wasn't surprised to hear last fall that he'd been chosen for the top job at the Connecticut Historical Society, or that lots of new things are happening under his leadership.

These six ideas may be of particular interest since almost any organization can apply them:

  • Their exhibit, "Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories."  In addition to the theme and approach, note the object signs, the variety of objects, and the way in which visitors could contribute.
  • A major exhibit in which they partnered with a community that has not traditionally had much of a connection to the Connecticut Historical Society.
  • Historical notes on contextual signs throughout the building, such as a sign in an elevator about an important invention by the founder of Otis Elevator Company, which is headquartered in Connecticut.
  • Getting visitors to sign up for their e-mail newsletter.
  • Their campaign, with other organizations, to save funding for history, the humanities, and preservation.
  • A creative approach to merchandise, explained in this "Income Ideas" resources post.

Photos of these are included below.

If you would like to meet at your state or local historic site, please let me know and I'll schedule a visit when I'm in the area.


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September 16, 2015

Here's what the new weekly e-mail looks like

As shown below, the new "History events in Massachusetts" e-mail consists of all events in the state that have been added to from all organizations. It's designed to be very easy to skim, with separate sections for new events, exhibits, and recurring walks. To add your organization's events, sign up for a free account on The History List.  To receive this every week, subscribe here.


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September 1, 2015

"History nerd" laptop stickers

Who says tech startups get to have all the fun—and all the laptop stickers?  Going through the surveys after the last History Camp in Boston I saw several in which they referred to themselves as "history nerds," which seemed perfect for a laptop sticker. 

I had some high quality vinyl stickers made and they've been a hit.  To quote one of my history friends: "I love it!!!"

Friend and fellow History Camper Liz Loveland had this experience the first time she ventured out with hers:

I'm excited to tell you that I took my laptop into a public space for the first post-sticker time today, and the sticker attracted attention! This included someone who asked me if I'd been to History Camp when they saw it (and it turns out they are already registered for 2016!), and someone who didn't know about the History List site until they saw my sticker and asked what was up with it.

If you'd like one, send me a self-addressed stamped envelope.  

Or, if you'd like several, send me an e-mail message with the number you'd like and your address.  They're $1 and you can send me a check or pay via PayPal.

Have fun!

History nerd laptop sticker


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August 30, 2015

The Newport Stamp Act Protest Reenactment

A reenactment on the 250 anniversary of the Newport Stamp Act protest was organized by the Newport Historical Society. Thanks to Elizabeth Sulock, who organized this excellent event, for the invitation.

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