Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Political Conventions Throughout History

Great info from the Library of Congress Blog...

Posted on: August 26th, 2008 by Matt Raymond

As Americans settle in to watch the two major party nominating conventions this week and next, have you ever wondered what political conventions were like before the days of the Web, television, or even the telegraph?

The Humanities and Social Sciences division at the Library of Congress has provided timely summaries of the Democratic and Republican national conventions dating back to 1832 and 1856, respectively. (As I write this, it is labeled “New” on the page of the Library’s Main Reading Room.)

As of today, staff have completed summaries for all the Democratic conventions and expect to complete the remaining Republican summaries in the next couple of days.

In a related vein, Microsoft is using historical content from the Library of Congress in new technology being showcased at both conventions:

Microsoft is also introducing Surface, a combination of hardware and software in a 30-inch tabletop device with a touch interface. [...] It will [...] provide information and images from past conventions that has been made available by the Library of Congress [...] .

I saw a video demonstration of the tables, and they look pretty nifty. You can pull up a map of the United States and touch on the cities where past conventions have been held. Then you can manipulate digital assets from each convention such as photos, text and videos, splaying them before you a la Tom Cruise in “Minority Report.”

Getting "back to basics?"

As an educator at a 19th century living history museum, I consistently find myself torn between two worlds. We are trying to educate about the past while remaining relevant to present and future generations. The mix can sometimes be maddening! How do you retain authenticity and a sense of serenity while still trying to reach new audiences and serve the needs of our existing patrons?!?!?!?!? More on that in another post...

What is truly fascinating is an emerging emphasis on the ways of the past. Our ancestors thought nothing of growing their own food...they pretty much had no other choice. Now...150-some years later, city-dwellers are looking to reclaim this lost heritage and regain control of their food supply. Are we coming full circle? Are contemporary folk looking to increase personal and societal sustainability by modeling a frontier way of life?

Here's an interesting post from Fortworthology on a project here in Fort Worth.

Are we looking at the modern day equivalent of Victory Gardens?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riddle me this...

Somewhere along the line...probably about the same time that "Google" became a verb...we all became obsessed with information sharing. This isn't a new notion, really. Consider ye olde towne crier...Paul Revere and his lanterns...bells...books...smoke signals...itinerant ministers...letters from dear ones back east...and eventually the telegraph. Gossip used to pass for news (and sometimes still does). What HAS changed is the scope, sheer volume, and interactivity of our communication. I can sit here at my computer (in a log cabin, no less) and instantaneously reach millions of people around the world.

But I digress.

For some reason, this morning I was in the mood for some pioneer riddles. I was thinking more about jokes...but when I "Googled" pioneer riddle, I found this great site developed by some kiddos in Canada. I thought the riddles were a lot of fun...and you could instantly see whether you'd solved them correctly or not!

The internet is an amazing thing. What would our ancestors have thought? And would they be surprised with our fascination in their everyday life? Given their intense workload, they definitely wouldn't have had time to search the 'net. But then again, they might have been able to buy some butter from their neighbor's web site rather than churning their own. :) :) :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's almost time for our summer maintenance!

Just a reminder...Log Cabin Village will be closed from August 25th through September 8th for our annual summer maintenance. This is an important time each year for the Village as it allows us to perform tasks (like inventory and deep cleaning) that just aren't possible when the doors are open!

We look forward to seeing everyone again when we reopen on September 9th!! Happy "end" of the summer, y'all...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great resources from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History!

Introducing History in a Box: Elementary School Edition Now available for sale at

Engage your students in American history with the newest multimedia resource from the Gilder Lehrman Institute!

American History: Elementary School Edition introduces critical topics in American history with ten units, each featuring hands-on activities based on primary sources.

Suitable for use at the elementary and middle school levels, this latest volume in the "History in a Box" series is an essential resource for teaching and learning about America's past.

Vibrant, Classroom-Ready Materials--Ten color-coded units cover more than 400 years of American history, from Native Americans to the civil rights movement.

Tools for Historical Investigation--Hands-on activities and primary documents with questions promote critical thinking and literacy skills.

Purchase more than $50 of material from the Gilder Lehrman History Shop, and receive a free copy of our new "Treasures of American History" booklet, recently released in paperback. This beautiful booklet, featuring a unique collection of American historical documents, will be automatically included in your order.

Are you a teacher or librarian interested in purchasing items in quantity for your school? If so, contact

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pssst...We've Got a Secret...

Don't tell anyone...but we will be unveiling a new look for our web site soon. We're very excited! I'll keep you posted once it goes live...

One great component of the new site will be an area for kids. That area is still under we'd love to hear what you'd like to see! Please add a comment here or e-mail me with suggestions...

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Log Cabin Village Selected to Receive IMLS Connecting To Collections Bookshelf

776 Museums, Libraries, and Archives Selected to Receive IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf

Washington, DC—Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), announced today that 776 museums, libraries, and archives, representing every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam have been selected to receive the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf. The contents of the bookshelf were selected by a blue ribbon panel of conservation experts; it includes an essential set of books, online resources, and a user’s guide that can profoundly affect the ability of small libraries and museums to care for their collections.

To see the list of recipients, click here

“The Connecting to Collections Bookshelf provides museums, libraries, and archives essential instructions on how to rescue treasures of yesteryear that they hold in trust,” said Radice. “These Bookshelves, once they are all distributed, will touch institutions around the nation.”

The IMLS Bookshelf was made possible by a cooperative agreement with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) with support from the Getty Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. It is part of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a strategic initiative by IMLS to address the challenges described in A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections. The report concluded that:

  • 190 million objects need conservation treatment,
  • 65 percent of collecting institutions have damaged collections due to improper storage,
  • 80 percent of collecting institutions lack an emergency plan for their collections and trained staff to carry it out, and
  • 40 percent of institutions have no funds allocated in their annual budget for preservation and conservation.

Most recipients have small budgets and staff, and have demonstrated an urgent need for this permanent resource. History museums, historic houses, and academic libraries with special collections are especially well represented among the recipients. Ten zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens, and nature centers are also represented. In addition, ten art museums with Kress Collection items will receive the bookshelf with funding from the Kress Foundation.

Recipients are located in 327 of the nation’s 435 congressional districts.

“Given the Getty's longstanding commitment to the care of museum and archival collections, we are pleased to partner with IMLS and other foundations to provide key conservation resources to the institutions that most need them,” said Getty Foundation Director Deborah Marrow.

“We are delighted to help make this important material reach so many institutions around the country,” said Ellen Holtzman, Program Director for American Art at the Henry Luce Foundation.

“The Kress Foundation is delighted to be working with IMLS to ensure the broadest possible access to this important reference resource,” said Max Marmor, President of the Kress Foundation.

The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for living collections. It addresses topics including the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues. Among the publications selected were The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (published by the British National Trust in 2005), the Field Guide to Emergency Response (published by Heritage Preservation in 2006), and Essentials of Conservation Biology (published by Primack in 2006).

Based on the enthusiastic response to the bookshelf, IMLS will offer a third round of competition to distribute an additional 1000 Bookshelves. Applications can be submitted to AASLH between January 5, 2009, and March 9, 2009, at

Federally-operated institutions, for-profit institutions, and libraries that do not hold special collections are not eligible to receive the IMLS Bookshelf. For more information, please contact Terry Jackson at or 615-320-3203.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

About the American Association for State and Local History The American Association for State and Local History is a non-profit membership organization comprising individuals, agencies, and organizations acting in the public trust, engaged in the practice of history, and representing a variety of disciplines and professions. It provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans. To learn more, visit

About the Getty Foundation The Getty Foundation provides support to institutions and individuals throughout the world, funding a diverse range of projects that promote the understanding and conservation of the visual arts. The Foundation is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust which also includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Conservation Institute. To learn more, visit

About the Henry Luce Foundation The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. With assets of approximately $750 million, the Luce Foundation supports American art, higher education, Asian affairs, theology, and women in science and engineering. To learn more, visit

About the Samuel H. Kress Foundation The Samuel H. Kress Foundation was created in 1929 and devotes its resources to advancing the scholarship, conservation and enjoyment of works of European art. The Kress Foundation’s programs focus on the preservation of significant monuments of European art and architecture, as well as the nurturing of professional expertise in art history and art conservation. To learn more, visit