Some people may wonder “what is it like to work for a museum, when you aren’t actually in the museum?” It’s a really good question, and one to think about indeed. It is difficult. Being around your museum encourages deeper thoughts about what the visitor would care about. Surrounding oneself with the artifacts that make the museum what it is helps creative juices flow much more. This whole challenge came to the forefront with COVID. It is hard finding ways to maintain engagement of material without actually being around the material. Luckily, this “work from home” day was only one. As a public historian, I find that learning how to roll with the punches is becoming second nature. Historians know what happened, but public historians know how to share what happened. The most difficult part for us then is finding new ways to do that.
I was working on designing the new exhibit coming in November. Was it hard? Yes. Was it possible? Yes. The trick is to find the balance of how and why. Why should the audience care, and how can I make them care? Working from home makes these questions challenging to answer, but all the more worthwhile if they can be answered in a fun, meaningful, and attractive way.