Sunday, February 17, 2013

Exhibiting More Finds at the Local Antique Shop

This month, I am exhibiting the diary of Eileen Langmayd at the high school where I work as an information specialist. This is my 3rd exhibit relating to archives since I started in this position in September. One of my main goals at the school is to weave archives into our conversation so that our students understand the diversity of information and how different sources serve their research and their lives.

I am lucky to have a couple of talented assistants, including one who has a natural skill at display. I design the topic of the exhibit, provide some resources and information, and she has become the one to put up the display in an attractive way. Our exhibit focuses on the idea of lost information. It discusses how I found the diary in an antique shop and how I am attempting to find out more about the diarist. I make a connection between the 1930s teen writer who lived in a neighboring town and my students. I talk about the girl's connection to her community; how her diary entries reflect what was happening in Manchester, NH at the time and what was happening nationally, as the world was struggling through a Depression. The exhibit includes the diary iteself, photos of some of its contents, images of Manchester from the time, labels describing events and connections, and books shedding light on the times.

The exhibit includes simple straightforward label copy that tries to introduce students to primary source materials in the context of the history they illustrate.

The exhibit caught the attention of a faculty member who hopped on to find out more about the diarist. He learned when she was born, when she was married, and other vital statistics. He learned that she had no children and this is a key clue to understanding how her materials ended up in an antique shop. He kindly e-mailed me his findings.

Census information and photo of Eileen Langmayd's school shared with me by a colleague.

I look forward to continuing to share my antique shop findings with my students and colleagues. I think archives are perfect for illustrating the value of "close reading." Illustrating the value of archives, More Finds at the Local Antique Shop continues to share interesting materials with a diverse audience. I have more to share about Miss Eileen as I continue transcribing her work, but I look forward to my next find! It's time to hit the shops once again. 

1 comment:

  1. That's such a great idea, Melissa! I love how local it all is :)