Monday, May 26, 2008

Funny Pictures from Gettysburg

OK - so they did have a great exhibit but they also had some quirky stuff. The visitor center was quite large and I can imagine the endless staff meetings:
"So we have most of the space filled but there is this one corner we have to fill, any thoughts?"
"Um, I guess we could do battle photos in 3-D"
"Kids love 3-D"
"That's true""Put on the 3D Glasses and see for yourself!" Um, ok.

In addition to the visitor center we went to the Eisenhower Farm. We had to take a bus up to the farm and as we were waiting to go I noticed this:

Body Fluid
Cleanup Kit

I am thinking they don't pay the bus drivers enough.

The bus back did not have this kit on board, is that good or bad?


I have been a little behind in my posting lately due to illness and lazy-ness. I meant to write about my Gettysburg weekend when it happened several weeks ago but it seems appropriate for Memorial Day.

Gettysburg is an hour from us, which is kinda amazing to think about. We took a family trip to DC, Williamsburg and Gettysburg when I was 16 (in fact my 16th b-day was at Williamsburg) but hadn't seen it since then. Mom chose the location because it was her b-day/Mother's day weekend. I was actually excited because I am a history nerd and they just opened the new visitor center.

I was prepared to be less than impressed because Civil War history is often poorly interpreted and utilized too often for political purposes, especially among reenactors. And, yes, the town of Gettysburg is filled with tourist traps, bad costume shops and many, many reenactors.

But, the exhibit in the visitor center was very well done. They took the time to put the Civil War in the context of America in the 19th century. They positioned the Gettysburg battle in the context of the war. They did a great job of incorporating artifacts, videos and computer stations to tell a complex story. And most importantly, the story was told from multiple perspectives including all of the country's citizens (and those not considered citizens), explaining who America was in 1860. Too often, If minorities or women are present in Civil War exhibits they are usually slapped on as an afterthought, but here they are part of the fabric of the tale, from the beginning.
Especially interesting was the story of the town and people of Gettysburg and what happened to them when the soldiers marched in.

At the end of the exhibit they left room to interpret the Gettysburg Address
The famous speech is universally acclaimed today but all critics did not agree in 1863. This picture shows quotes from papers across the country reacting to the speech. The exhibit ended with a video of the legacy of the Civil War, what it accomplished, what it didn't and what it still means to Americans.

As a museum educator I was encouraged by the choices here. To tell the story in context, to encourage visitors to think about what America was, how we experienced this war and what came of it is the most important lesson. While I overheard a bus driver complaining about the lack of artifacts in the new space, I disagree. Artifacts were used to illustrate the story (and did this beautifully), not to be the story. History nerds get too excited about actual artifacts when the real story is history itself. But the artifacts were cool.

See more pictures here

Monday, May 19, 2008

me, 2013

Cupcake and Unicorn, originally uploaded by cakespy.

I have been in a NyQuil fog for over a week and have been a bit behind in my googlereader so forgive my late awareness of this lovely gem from the esteemed Senator McCain. His dreamy avoidance of current affairs has led me to dream of my own "2013" The NyQuil also helps with this....

I live in a beautiful 16th century chateau right here in beautiful Maryland that I rehabbed myself after inheriting a fortune from my late distant relative I never knew existed. This paid off my debt and allowed me to quit my job too. I used some of the money to purchase a Unicorn (what? they don't exist? That horn is really a Narwhal tooth?) Not True! I found it on one of my recent visits to the past in my personal Time Machine. Don't believe everything you read in the history books.

Where's Mark you ask? Well, he no longer has a corporeal form ever since the Singularity.

Oh, John, you crazy cat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Appetizing Applesauce Muffins

Appetizing Applesauce Muffins, originally uploaded by bethjc.

Thought I would share one of my favorite recipes. I make it on weekends when I am in the mood for brunch. We always seem to have applesauce in the house. I copied the recipe out of TEEN magazine in 1986. I had a subscription to Seventeen but often bought Teen and sometimes bought Sassy. I always wanted to be the girl who read Sassy but somehow it scared me a little, was a little too rebellious.

Appetizing Applesauce Muffins

1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup milk

NOTE: because Mark doesn't eat dairy products I substitute shortening for butter and soy milk, rice milk or water for the milk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift baking powder, salt, flour, cinnamon and sugar together.

Add butter, applesauce, milk and egg. Stir until moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of muffins before serving.