Thursday, October 12, 2017

Newsletter preview round 2

September Links and Things from Tegan

Welcome to Links and Things from Tegan! This is the inaugural “issue,” and I hope you enjoy it. Most months it will be email-only, so please subscribe here if you haven't already! I'll never sell or trade your information.


In General

I've been reading the blog Ask a Manager regularly for maybe a year now, and it’s one of my favorite blogs. It’s a daily advice column about work situations … hiring, firing, being hired/fired, fights over the office microwave, really anything that can come up. Some posts are very straightforward and useful, and others have a lot of human drama in them, as people who write in share some extreme things that have happened in their workplaces. The thing that makes it special is that the columnist, Alison Green, is really great at looking at many perspectives on an issue, and helping people figure out what they can change in their workplace, what they can influence, and what they need to figure out whether they can live with. The other thing is that this is one of the few places on the internet where you do want to read the comments -- things get heated sometimes, but often, the commenters can be as insightful and witty as Alison herself.

In Greater BostonA close-up of a spinning wheel.

On Sunday, September 24, the Fairbanks House museum in Dedham will have its second annual Fall Festival. I went last year was impressed with what they offered for their first time. The festival includes demonstrations of historic crafts such as tin-smithing and weaving, historical reenactors, crafts available for purchase from local artisans, and this year some alpacas will be paying a visit. The festival is free and family-friendly, and runs 12 pm to 5 pm on September 24. It’s about 30 minutes from downtown Boston by car, 1 hour by public transit.


Beyond Boston


Mid-September through mid-October, you’ll find Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany and all over the world, especially in places with a history of immigration from Bavaria, such as Cincinnati. While the festival is known for including a *lot* of beer, the authentic, Munich version did originally center around beer. In many places, it’s now a celebration of German or Bavarian heritage, although with an emphasis on alcohol rivaled only by that celebration of Irish heritage, St. Paddy’s day. In case you’re near any of these cities, or if you just want to do some armchair tourism, this Fodor’s article shows off some of the highlights of American Oktoberfests (note that it’s from 2014, so the dates aren’t accurate for this year). Personally, I might try for a taste of Bavaria with this recipe for apple cake -- I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll let you know what I think.


For History Lovers
I just learned about a new memorial project I think is interesting, called Stopping Stones. Each simple marker will acknowledge the life of an enslaved person in American history. They’re not necessarily famous people, but people whose name and place they were held in slavery are in the historical record. The project, created by Vermont-based artist Paul Growald, aims to get people to stop and remember the personal impact of the system of slavery. It’s inspired by Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine, similar memorials which recognize victims of Nazi atrocities throughout Europe. The first Stopping Stone is in Medford, MA, outside of the Royall House and Slave Quarters museum. It recognizes Belinda Sutton, enslaved there in the 18th century.


The cover of Visual Shock, which has the Washington Monument and a tall, thin scuplture.
For Museum and Public History People, (you’ll see that this category is rarely exclusively for such people!)

It’s been several years since I read Michel Kammen’s “Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture,” so this is me recommending it to you but also reminding myself that I may want to re-read it. While it focuses on works of art (usually created by one artist or a small group, representing their own views) it also has a chapter on “Monuments, Memorials, and Americanism” which looks at controversies around pieces designed specifically to serve as public or official commemorations of events or people. It’s very useful background to have when looking at today’s controversies around Confederate monuments and other monuments closely tied to slavery, oppression, or genocide. The history of these controversies shows that monuments are never apolitical, even if that’s sometimes the intent.


Civics Corner

Voting rights, and access to polling places, is one of those issues that should be non-partisan, but the more partisan and messed up the politics in our country get, the more people start considering it a partisan issue. We need to change that. Here are some of the organizations doing great work around voting issues that you can get involved in:
  • Common Cause focuses on open, accountable government.
  • Let America Vote is focused on voting rights.
  • VoteRiders helps people navigate changing voter ID laws, and helps people overcome financial and bureaucratic barriers to getting voter ID. 
  • Voting access, and civic engagement more generally, are part of the NAACP’s key issues.
  • The League of Women Voters (which hasn’t been just for women for a long time) focuses on voting rights, engaging and educating voters, getting money out of politics, and several other issues.

The “Me” Section


Here’s my recent post “The Good, the Bad, and the Cringeworthy at the Commonwealth Museum” over at my blog A Catalog of Curiosity.

My work is participating in a big experiment -- a festival of Boston innovation in shipping containers on City Hall Plaza. Check out our exhibit on anesthesia past, present and future October 12-15.

Rehearsals are in full swing for Tomes of Terror: Lenore!, a suite of three staged radio plays. It includes my adaptation of Poe’s The Premature Burial, and I’ll be doing live Foley sound effects for another of the shows. There will be six performances October 20 to 21 and 26 to 28, in Davis Square, Somerville, MA.




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Newsletter preview: Links and Things from Tegan Kehoe

Hello, all!

This is a preview of my new monthly e-newsletter, descriptively named Links and Things from Tegan Kehoe. In it, I'll be sharing short reviews and recommendations of books, articles, experiences, and more, both things that have come out in the last month, and things that are not new, but worth a view. I'll also share information on my own ongoing and upcoming projects. If you sign up, you'll get one email a month from me, and I won't swap or sell your address. It's possible I'll want to send more than one per month in the future, but if I change to more often, that will be opt-in. 


Without further ado... Links and Things!



In General
I recently read The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, a compilation published in 1937. The first time I picked up this slim volume I didn’t think much of it, but this time it was just what I was in the mood for. Some of the stories are scary, and some have twist endings, but some of them have that creeping feeling of inevitability as we draw closer to the natural (supernatural) conclusion.

In Greater Boston
Old Ironsides floats once more! The historic ship USS Constitution underwent an extensive restoration in dry dock (the ship equivalent of a car being on jack stands) from 2015 to July 23, 2017. I recommend browsing the archives of the restoration blog, jointly written by the USS Constitution Museum and Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston. And, the ship is open for tours again starting Labor Day weekend! Important notes: you'll need a government-issued ID to get in, and there are irregular steps up and down getting on and around the ship. The USS Constitution Museum, across the plaza from the ship, is accessible and doesn't require ID. Both are free. 

Beyond Boston
We're several months into the centennial of United States involvement in WWI. I took a class on WWI when I did a college semester in France, and in one of my course books, it said of 1917, "Then, a little miracle happened. The Americans, for purposes of their own, decided to join the war." I loved that wry statement. Here's a list of WWI commemoration and history events happening around the country, and here's the equivalent for English-language events internationally.

For History Lovers
This preview edition is already history-heavy, so I'll keep it brief. Many history lovers already know this, but it can't hurt to be reminded that countless fiction and non-fiction classics are available as free e-books (for computer or e-reader) from places like The Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg. Here's Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

For Museum and Public History People
If you're not already following Nonprofit AF, you probably should be (if you ask, the creator Vu Le will say it's short for Nonprofit Awesome Fun, and it's formerly Nonprofit With Balls). It's a great source for cynical nonprofit humor and realist discussions of the nonprofit world, including strategy, audience engagement and marketing, finance, and juggling funders' expectations.

Civics Corner
This corner of the newsletter is not civics 101, it's anything under the broad category of "being a good citizen," regardless of whether you have citizenship in the community you have civic feeling toward. This time, however, my links are a bit introductory: the two tools I think everyone in the US should have bookmarked: whoismyrepresentative.com, for when you need to call your elected officials, and vote411.org, to register to vote (for states that offer online registration) and to see what will be on your ballot when you have an election on the horizon.



The "Me" Section (perhaps longer than usual, because it includes ongoing things!)
  • On my blog, A Catalog of Curiosity, I made a list of 100 things I want to try, and I'm working through it over the course of 1000 days. This summer I lagged on posts because I've been trying some things that take more time, but that just means you have time to catch up on the posts you haven't read yet! My most recent post, "Dissection on your Coffee Table," reviews the book Great Discoveries in Medicine, edited by William and Helen Bynum.
  • I mentioned the centennial of WWI above -- if you're in Boston, check out the exhibits on this topic at the Paul S. Russell Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. The exhibits, which I've had a big hand in creating, are at the museum itself and the museum's display case in the hospital main lobby.
  • If you're in the Boston area, maybe you've already heard of the Post Meridian Radio Players. They're (we're) a community/independent theater company with a twist -- it's all live performances of radio drama, complete with live Foley sound effects. My adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Premature Burial will be included in their 2017 Halloween show, Tomes of Terror: Lenore. Come check it out!

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quarterly-ish update, February 2017

Probably the most important things I've written since the last time I posted a quarterly update have been regarding civic participation. As regular readers know, civic participation as an individual and as part of my responsibility as a historian and museum professional is very important to me. In these polarizing times, participating is more important than ever. There are 12 known active hate groups in my state of Massachusetts; staying out of the fray would do nothing to combat their violent messages. One of the causes I care deeply about is making sure that everyone has a chance to be involved, and in that vein, I posted an open letter last month (which I also sent to a number of news outlets) asking for more coverage of nonvoters. This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the much-publicized exhibit "the Davis. Without Immigrants," also known by its hashtag #ART-LESS, which was up over Presidents Day weekend. I reviewed it on my blog, describing my experience as a visitor but also trying to imagine what I would have thought of the exhibit if it had conveyed a political view strongly different from my own.

Also on my blog A Catalog of Curiosity, I recently posted "Some Experiences I Loved," which is a round-up of my posts about things I enthusiastically recommend and a short list of other recommendations I haven't blogged about.