Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halloween and What I'm up to

This always seems to happen, I hit the end of October and just feel like sleeping for the next few months. Last year I did manage to blog a tiny bit in November, the year before I did not manage a single post in November. Yup, it is a trend.

This year I’ve spent the last month and a half jumping in the deep end of event management here at the museum. My first day was October 1st and my first event was October 25th. Luckily the person I am replacing was both very well organized and willing to come in and spend a number of days helping me get going. I have relied very heavily on her past planning and notes as I get going organizing and carrying-out special events here at the museum. Now, I am not in charge of all events; weddings and private events are handled by someone else, educational events and fundraisers are different too. I am in charge of Halloween, Christmas, Independence Day, and a wine and food festival in the fall. That means my schedule is very heavily weighted towards this time of year, just when I am getting started!

Halloween was interesting. As an event it strays pretty far from some of the museum’s mission: specifically the part about encounters with history and preservation, but it does have a lot to do with community which is also part of the mission. The Friday and Saturday before Halloween the museum opens for safe and spooky (but not scary) trick-or-treating for kids of all ages. There are a few activities, some Halloween themed entertainment, but mostly it is a chance to walk around the neighborhood that is Strawbery Banke Museum and fill a bag with all sorts of candy. With the help of the properties department I got to purchase over 35,000 individual-sized pieces of candy. Just the smell of all that candy was enough to give anyone a sugar high. Over the two evenings more than 3,000 visitors came through. By the end we had just a few pounds of candy left, and from what I heard folks seemed pretty satisfied with their experience.

So what did all that have to do with history? Very little, unfortunately. The event really is geared towards all the local families that want a safe place to trick-or-treat, and the evenings are so crowded that a lot of the historic houses are just too small and too fragile to be used in this manner. Could more history be injected into the event? Heck yes! I did not have a lot of time this year to come up with anything new, these past few weeks have really been about learning the ropes, but anything I am involved in inevitably gets history injected into it, and all these events take place at a museum! Next year I’ll have those trick-or-treaters learning some history, I guarantee.

Next up, the biggest event at the museum: Candlelight Stroll. Three weekends in December, every building on the museum grounds, 300 years of history, over ten thousand visitors expected. This one is a whopper, so if you don’t hear from me for a while please understand I’m bringing history to life in some of the most exciting, magical ways that I know how.

Then come visit me at the museum!

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