One year ago today I started this blog.
It’s sort of ironic that the reason I haven’t posted much since I finished my Long Trip posts is because my museum work is going so well, and I’ve been incredibly busy during the month of December. I am going to try to write more often in future in spite of it, because what I’ve been doing is so interesting. At least it is to me, and I hope it will be to you.
For instance. This week I just finished cataloging and properly storing two collections of about 100 glass plate negatives for the Tacoma Historical Society. They’re over 100 years old, but the images are still clear and sharp, which is amazing to me. The subjects ranged from scenes of Old Tacoma to turn-of-the-last-century hiking trips to Mt. Rainier. Miners and sawmills and steam locomotives, too.
The second, as yet incomplete, volume of what I hope will someday become my Yellowstone trilogy features a photographer during the 1890s Yukon gold rush. He’s based on a real man named Eric Hegg (the University of Washington has a large collection of his photographs here), who hauled crates of fragile glass plates over the Chilkoot Pass and down the Yukon River to Dawson City and on to Nome, Alaska. Handling the Society’s collection of glass negatives really brought home what that would have been like. I am shocked, honestly, that any of them survived intact.
Now it’s on to the much less fragile paper photos. I can’t say I’m not glad.
For my other project, at the Lakewood Historical Society, I interviewed the almost 100-year-old daughter of the woman who was the driving force behind the creation of the Clover Park School District in Lakewood, Washington, for the exhibit I’m building on its history. She’s amazing. I hope I keep my brains and memory as intact as she has when I’m 3/4 of her age. I’ve discovered, too, that, in spite of my preconceptions (having moved 26 times in my lifetime, 14 times long distance), many people do still live in the same place (and sometimes the same house) all their lives.
I also interviewed the former superintendent of the district in the 1950s, and a 1951 Clover Park High graduate, who very graciously lent the museum his letterman’s sweater and hockey skates for the exhibit, and a 1960 graduate, who donated her junior high school banner and beanie and high school dance cards to the museum. And visited the state archives, and the school district archives.
Did I mention that I love research? And who’d have thought that the history of a school district would be so interesting?
Lucky, lucky me. I’ve never had work that has made me as happy as this work has.
Do you love your work? Have you ever been in a position where you look forward to your work every day?