Hello again readers!
Welcome back to the Hometown Heritage blog. Here in the office we have tons of photos on the walls. Most of them are pictures of people and immigrants, in all kinds of different situations. Now I am sure that you all have heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Indeed, many family photos have stories attached to them, earning them their thousand words. However, what about photos whose stories have been lost? There are many pictures like that here at Hometown Heritage. For instance, on the wall next to my desk is a picture of a man with a chicken on his shoulder. By looking it up in our system, I can find out that it is a photo of a Welshman named D. R. Jones, who was the great-grandfather of Dick Shoesmith (the original donor of the item), but that is the only information about it in the system. Yet there is so much more that this photo could tell! Questions like the location of the photo and the exact date of the photo are unanswered. Even the biggest question, why does D. R. Jones have a chicken on his shoulder, is unanswered. Was it a pet chicken? Or was it a random chicken he found out in the wild and it happened to jump on his shoulder and stay there? Or maybe it is a stuffed chicken that he is posing with? Since there was little information recorded at the time of the picture’s donation, it is impossible to know for sure if any of those reasons are true. Because of this, it is important to record as much as possible for every photo. Without that information, the full story of a photo is lost.
Think about the pictures that you have in your house. Can you remember the story behind every photo? Or have some of these pictures lost their meaning, because no one is around to tell their stories, or not enough information has been recorded? I know that in my home, there are photos of people (purchased in an auction for the frames they were in) that we lovingly call great-grandma and grandpa, even though they are completely unrelated to us. In fact, we have absolutely no idea who these people are. They may not even be real for all we know! Still, their pictures may be worth a thousand words, but without a voice, their words and stories are lost. So remember to tell the stories of your photos to whoever will listen, as we will do here at Hometown Heritage. It is important that people do not forget the history behind photos like these, so that they do not end up like D. R. Jones and his shoulder chicken (seriously, why is it on his shoulder?). We will ask Dick if he can shed some light on this question.
Welcome to the Hometown Heritage (the branded name used by Fullhart Carnegie Charitable Trust) blog! My name is Jared Bloom, and I am the new intern here at Hometown Heritage. Since this is my first appearance on the blog, it seemed appropriate that I should introduce myself to you all, and tell you a little about who I am, what my goals are, and why I am with Hometown Heritage.
Let me start by saying a little more about myself. I graduated from the Perry High School in 2011, and I spent most of my childhood here as well, so I have many fond memories of our little town. I can remember the summer days of Friday Fest, with its stands of local products, live music, inflatable rides and more. I can remember when Shopko was still Pamida, and when Alco was still open for business. Even though some of these things have changed, there are plenty of familiar faces and places here in Perry, so the town feels like home. After High School, I chose to attend Iowa State University, and found that I was extremely interested in history. After spending four years there, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in History. During my time in the History department, I found that I was quite interested in Classical history (which generally involves the ancient Greeks and Romans). As part of this, I learned a little bit of Latin (how to write and read it at least), and spent 3 weeks in Italy in May of 2014. I went to see all the major landmarks like the Colosseum, and we even had a trip down to Pompeii. I also saw many of the minor landmarks (a cat sanctuary called the Largo di Torre Argentina comes to mind), and even managed to miss a bus and get lost for a while. The trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Looking toward the future, as a recent college graduate many opportunities have come knocking on my door and questioned what I was doing or where I was going. Often the response was “I haven’t thought about it yet” or “I’ll just go with the flow”, but eventually I had to sit down and think more seriously about the idea. As I did, a loose plan started to form in my head. After talking with a few professors and professionals, I decided that I am interested in working in a Museum setting, either as something like a Curator, or in a collections/preservation sort of role. I discovered that for me, this meant getting some good experience in the right kind of setting, and then going to a graduate school for a degree in Museum Studies. This is the part where Hometown Heritage enters into my plans.
Hometown Heritage is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to earn the kind of experience that I am looking for, and much more. I get to work not only with the kind of software that many museums use, but I also have the opportunity to earn some event managing experience, as there are various events coming up in this area that I am excited to have a hand in. However, experience is not the only reason I am here at Hometown Heritage. There is also the fact that this town, although not the first place I have memories of, is still my hometown, and it holds a special place in my heart. There is also plenty of history here in this town, even if it is not Classical History. I am aware of Hometown Heritage having one of the most extensive collections in the central U.S. for a small town. Within this collection, all of the stories that are told, the old photos and documents, the vintage collectables and works of art, and even the loose odds and ends have within them a special piece of this town’s history that I believe is worth preserving.
Preserving Perry’s history is a multifaceted job. Whether it be using our museum software, upcoming events, or simply digging through the mountains of boxes in our vault and backroom, I look forward to discovering new and exciting stories and experiences that I can share, with the rest of you, on this blog.