That I vanished for two weeks. November was three months crammed into one for me, and real life took over. To begin with, my first freelance museum gig — I am researching, writing, and designing an exhibit for the Lakewood Historical Society — swung into high gear. Secondly, my second freelance museum gig (they’re both part-time, adding up to 30 hours a week total) — I am cataloging the photograph collection for the Tacoma Historical Society — began in earnest. And thirdly, I picked this year to do the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I finished blogging my Long Trip, too. Three months crammed into one, indeed.
Oh, and we had two windstorms and a snowstorm this month.
The Lakewood job is researching and designing an exhibit, my first one for pay (I created a small exhibit as a volunteer project last summer). It will recount the history of the Clover Park School District, which was and is a very large part of the identity of the community that finally incorporated as the city of Lakewood in the 1990s. Clover Park is both a microcosm of how school districts were formed and grew in Washington state during the 20th century, and a unique-to-Washington example of how the extremely strong military presence in Pierce County could and did change and form how a school district develops, including the creation of a technical college begun to train soldiers during WWII that only moved from the school district to the community college system fifteen years ago. It’s been much more interesting research than I expected it to be.
The Tacoma job is helping bring order out of chaos, by cataloging the hundreds (perhaps over a thousand, I don’t know yet) of historic photographs the Society has collected in its 20 years of existence. Everything from 19th century glass plate negatives to digital images. Through a grant, they were able to purchase PastPerfect, a museum cataloging software program, storage and preservation supplies, and my time for twenty hours a week for seven months. This week I have set up PastPerfect, transferred what collection files they already possessed from Excel to the new software, and started cataloging, beginning with a collection of antique postcards of local scenes from the turn of the last century. Some of which have writing on the back. Talk about social history…
And then there was NaNoWriMo. I think I’ll wait and talk about that one next time. Suffice to say for now that 50,000 words in thirty days is a faster breakneck speed than I’ve ever written at before, but I did it. Which is pretty darned cool, in my humble opinion.