I shared the following post on the historical society’s Facebook page and thought I’d post it here, as well:
“Just wanted to share…why we do what we do: We had some visitors this week who dropped in to see some portraits of their ancestors that they knew we had. These portraits hang in the Museum. We told them we might have some more family information in our genealogy library. They were then able to hold in their hands the sermons that their ancestor had held in his hands, written in both English and German, around 150 years ago, here in Henry County. This is why we exist, to preserve the bountiful history of our county to share with people today and future generations, for the descendants of our early Henry County citizens to make a connection with their ancestors. This particular visit made me stop and think about what the importance of Henry County history means to so many generations and what an honor it is to be a guardian of the treasures of yesteryear.”
Later on that week, we had a member stop by to donate a ticket used by the Union Traction Company of Indiana (Interurban). He asked what we did with our transportation artifacts, photos, and documents, if we ever put them on display to be shared. Oh, how we’d love to have the space to do that! We have *so much* stored away just waiting on that special person to come look at it and learn from it. I tucked the train ticket into an archival-quality envelope so that it wouldn’t get lost in the Interurban file. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to virtually display more of our collection. I entered the ticket into PastPerfect and soon will have the ability to add the picture of it, as well. For right now, though, here it is:
At first, I was somewhat apprehensive going into it. I felt like I didn’t know enough; I felt like I was leaving my genealogical study and research behind; I was worried I’d fail miserably.
So far, so good! Of course, it’s early on, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable in picking up the phone to call someone. I’m delegating tasks so that I’m not doing everything myself. I ask questions and give advice. And, I feel like I’m actually making a difference. I heard that phrase so many times in my previous career, and it must have resonated within me. I am thankful for those years working at the hospital and learning what I did; it has transferred nicely to my Muze job.
I attempt to use customer service skills, too. Customer service goes a long way…something as simple as actually actively listening to a person’s story or spelling their name right or giving them a heads up about a DNA test deal really make my job so worth it. I like being able to help people along on their family history journey or talking to them about our local history or listening to their stories about our county. My goal is to learn something new every day; so far, my new position has not let me down!
Now, I need your help! Pick your favorite:
Major accomplishment: Migrated our entire membership from an Excel spreadsheet to PastPerfect! Someone before me…years ago…imported a spreadsheet into the database…big no-no! We have over 1500 entries…not huge, I know, but I never claimed we were. After entering our membership, I went entry by entry to remove duplicate entries, make all addresses consistent, add titles, etc. FINISHED TODAY!! Included are all members, volunteers, staff, and folks interested in our organization, plus business contacts and other historical organizations. Whew! Now, onto entering our entire collection…
The very first entry was a World War I canteen:
Along with PastPerfect duties, I have also written a new policy regarding our copier, accepted several fascinating donations into our collection, given tours, fed a couple chipmunks (Chip I and Chip II, respectively), written two thank-you’s where I forgot to sign my name, came into the Muze to find a large framed hair wreath had fallen off the wall (that was today), and moved my computer twice. I attended a fundraising workshop on my birthday and took a call about bugs on a Sunday. I took pictures at our Memorial Day parade:
<– Our 1930 Chrysler!
And, the Muze hosted a paper rose workshop where we learned how to craft fancy flowers. Our teacher made a rose bloom to resemble the American Beauty Rose, which used to be grown in New Castle in the 1910’s.
<– The blooms were said to have been the size of a dinner plate, and a dozen sold for $72!