Field trip day! We escaped the classroom and headed off into Classroom Indianapolis. Being on the bus with my classmates in the early morning reminded me of all the fun we had on field trips in my Historic Site Administration course in grad school. Today we visited the Benjamin Harrison Home and the Eiteljorg Museum. At the Eiteljorg we ran to the children’s educational area and played with all of the interactives: we raised a totem pole, I played with a cup and ball, smashed my head against the low roof of a stage coach, and someone fell off of a fake horse. Conclusion: we need to design galleries for grown ups to play in without having to have a kid around to front for them – no shame! (Also, with more head room so said grown-ups don’t bang their heads against low ceilinged stagecoaches…)
We also went to the opening reception for the National Trust for Historic Preservation meeting. I ran into an old friend and two of my former bosses in the preservation field. They all remembered me after all this time of being away, and were glad to see me. The opening reception was at the Athenaeum, and being in the dark-wood hall in the basement gave me flash-backs to the opening dinner each year of grad school, and meeting my new best friends at those dinners. This got me thinking about how large a professional network I have here in Indianapolis, and how much I miss having that back home. The museum and history community here shares so much information and so many employees, while the community back home seems not very excited about working together. I had forgotten how nice it is to work connections and to feel like an integral part of a professional community. I miss these Hoosier History people! When I get home (boo) I need to try harder to create a community of historians.
Favorite artifacts of the day: the Art-O-Mat. This is a repurposed cigarette vending machine that now dispenses tiny boxes of artwork, everything from glass pendants to woodcuts. Local artists fill the tiny boxes with their miniature pieces and visitors to the Eiteljorg can put a $5 bill in the machine and buy something. It’s a genius idea.