observations

I’m Going to Leave This Right Here

It has been months since I have added to my blog here. I’ve been spending my blogging time over at The Pragmatic Historian, keeping up with a weekly blogging habit there. While I focus that blog on the uses of history all over society and I can write about a gazillion different topics with that focus, sometimes I run across something that doesn’t quite fit. I have a habit of pointing out odd package labeling…

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Saving Handwriting for History

My favorite pen is the BIC Round Stic. I know a lot of people appreciate a smooth-flowing pen that glides with no friction across a page. Me, I like a little friction and the Round Stic provides. Black ink, please, not blue. Red is okay if I’m editing. My supply of black BIC Round Stics was getting low at home, so I bought a box. When I got it home, I noticed the following ……

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Maintaining Buildings for the Long-Term

My favorite building in Little Falls, Minnesota, is the U.S. Post Office with its giant Corinthian columns on the front facade. This blocky building covered in red brick speaks of solidity. It’s monumental, yet the smoothness of the columns gives it grace. When I visit, I have a tendency to run my hand over the surface of the columns like they are some sort of talisman. (I may be weird, but I believe buildings like…

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The Curse of Sensationalized History

Upon the recommendation of others, my husband started watching The Curse of Oak Island recently. This is a reality show series from The History Channel wherein a couple of brothers and their team search a 140-acre island off the coast of Nova Scotia for a supposed buried treasure. The search for this treasure has occurred by various parties over the past 200 years. My husband got a few episodes in before I sat down to…

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Making “Vintage” Halloween Costumes

The Saturday before Halloween this year (2019), Hubby and I were invited to a Halloween party. A costume is never really required, but people who attend this annual shindig tend to have fun with their costumes. They are usually pretty clever. (This year, one person came as “A Blessing in Disguise.”) Erik and I are not really costume people and we typically try to figure something out at the last minute. This year, we actually…

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Pursuing Members from a Niche History Market

Leading a local historical society, as I do, creating long-term financial stability for the organization is always on my mind. At this time of year, so is membership, particularly figuring out how to increase the number of members. Members, especially those who remain members over a long period of time, are not only the lifeblood of historical societies, they add immeasurably to the organization in terms of moral, financial, and other forms of support. Colleen…

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Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota

I was paging through the University of Minnesota Press’s current holiday book guide and ran across a couple of entries that stopped me cold. Like, I haven’t even looked through the rest of the guide, stopped cold. Two books by author Larry Millett, who has written architectural history books, caught my attention. They were “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma” and “Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders.” Whoa! Two books about Sherlock Holmes set…

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History from the Air: Space Archaeology

In the September edition of 3 O’Clock Punch!, my email newsletter**, I shared an article on Alice Gorman, a space archaeologist. Gorman discusses the importance of preserving the stuff we put up in space, the satellites, Moon Landing articles, spacecraft, and etc. After sharing that article, I ran across a book at my local library called, “Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past,” by Sarah Parcak. I thought it was going to be…

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History Is Embedded in Language

I just finished reading a novel by Alena Graedon called “The Word Exchange.” The basic plot is that technology, both in the form of handheld devices called “Memes” and a wearable called “Nautilus,” causes what is called a word flu, wherein people start substituting regular words with nonsense words. For some, the flu, which also causes other physical symptoms, is deadly, or it may cause a permanent “silencing” of individuals. Of course, corporate greed and…

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Making Press Releases More Helpful for Media Outlets

A quick post for this week, inspired by Joe Hoover of the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) during a break at the 2019 Minnesota State Historic Preservation Conference in St. Cloud. (Yeah, yeah, this is my third post related to the conference, but conferences really suggest a wealth of material for blog posts.) Joe puts together MNHS’s email newsletter Local History News, which is a compilation of history events, announcements and job postings from history organizations…

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Climate Change and Historic Preservation

During the recent 2019 State Historic Preservation Conference held in St. Cloud, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) opened up its revamping of the Minnesota Statewide Historic Preservation Plan 2020-2030 for ideas from stakeholders and the public. (You can add your thoughts and ideas through this online survey.) There was a table with sticky notes and we were asked what we thought the most pressing concerns were in regards to historic preservation that should be…

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2019 Minnesota Historic Preservation Conference – Preserving Landscapes

On September 12 and 13 (Friday the 13th, with nothing untoward happening), 2019, the Minnesota Historic Preservation Conference was held in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This conference is held annually by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and is meant to bring together people who care about historic preservation in order to exchange ideas and learn new methods for encouraging preservation in our communities. To that end, the Preservation Conference changes location each year and is…

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