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!

Last but not least -- subscribe to get this newsletter once a month in your inbox!

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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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Listen to the Nonvoters: An Open Letter to the Media

I am sending this to a number of my favorite media sources. I encourage you to share this verbatim with attribution, or to write your own letter with mine as a model.

I’m writing to ask for more coverage of the Americans who did not vote in the presidential election in November. Trump voters have gotten a lot of media attention, and rightly so, but their voices are disproportionately amplified. 42% of eligible voters did not cast a vote (fivethirtyeight.com). This proportion has become typical, and it’s a serious problem in American democracy.

This year saw new restrictions in many states, ostensibly to prevent voter fraud. How do people caught in red tape feel about the election? How do people who never vote feel? To understand our political climate, your audience needs to hear their stories.

We need coverage of people who were prevented from voting by legal or illegal, intentional or unintentional means. People whose registrations were rejected. People who were turned away at their polling places. People who worked a double shift on election day and weren't allowed to or couldn't afford to take the time off. People whose kid was sick and who couldn't find childcare. People whose wheelchairs wouldn't fit in the door of their polling place. People whose rides fell through. People whose absentee ballot never came.

We need coverage of people who were discouraged from voting. People whose polling place was too far for the amount of time they had, by the modes of transit they could take. People who felt sick at the thought of lost wages even if they could technically afford the time off. People who saw friends try and fail to register to vote. People who saw family turned away at their polling places. People with chronic pain who were told that the elevator at their polling place was only for people who “need" it. People who didn't want to walk in the door because there were police officers watching from across the street and the police in their town don't have a record of serving and protecting. People who didn't know if they could bring their kid. People who have voted before but couldn't this year, people who have never voted but wanted to this time.

It is clear these people exist. There was some coverage of these issues shortly after the election, mostly in small and alternative media, but not enough focus was on the people. As a reader, a customer, and a citizen, I ask you to find these people and interview them. Their stories shape America as much as any voters' do.