Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 5: June 15th and June 16th

This week was jammed packed with great information and great fun. On Wednesday the day started with the book club discussion of The Rescue Artist.
The group ended up being bigger than Shelia planned. She was expecting around 12 people, and almost 20 showed up. It was a lively, and at times difficult, discussion. When you have that many people in the room trying to discuss something, it gets a little off track and loud. The discussion was good though and a lot of the ladies in the club shared their experience actually witnessing the Scream by Munch first hand. It brings a lot to the discussion when you can relate to the story in a personal way. Another interesting thing that came up in the book discussion was a book that the group did a couple of months ago, The Girl with the Gallery. Earlier that morning while we were setting up another intern that was going through some books came across some correspondence between the then director of the museum and the subject of the Girl with the Gallery, Edith Halpert. The correspondence was guessed to have been done in the late 1950's. It was really interesting to see the book come to life in such a local way.

After the book discussion Shelia and I had to set up for intern orientation of the library. I actually helped with this by giving the other interns from the other departments of the museum a tour of the reference material that is available in the library. I had to step out of my library world and remember that not everyone has lived in a library like I have and I have to be sure to explain terminology like "call numbers" and "Dewey Decimal" and even "reference". Some of the interns hadn't been in a library since grammar school, so it was really like a completely new thing for them. I really hope to see them in the library this semester.

On Thursday Shelia and two other interns from the library took a field trip to my end of the Gulf Coast and we visited the Hancock County Historical Society for a lunch talk by the Chancery Clerk. The historical society is such a wealth of information that I think is overlooked most of the time. They are very knowledgeable and more than willing to help anyone doing research on the city, county or family.

I'll share an anecdote that the president of the society told us. He was approached by an elderly man one day wanting to know more about his father. All he knew was that his father was killed in a road accident and his mother moved away from the Hancock County area when he was still a baby. He just wanted to know more about his father's side of the family. Well, the president of the society started looking around and found out that the man's father did die in the road, but it was no accident, he had been shot 6 times by the sheriff for causing quite a disturbance (shooting up the town and such). The president of the historical society didn't have the heart to tell the old man that his father was shot, but he did give him the family information that he needed. He figured if his mother had lied to him over 80 years ago, it was best to let it be. He did say that if the man's children came looking for information, he would pass on the truth.

Rich things like this can be found at the local historical society. Who needs fiction when the truth is more entertaining. We always tend to over look the treasures right in our own back yard.

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