The Tooth of the Matter

As the seminar comes to a close, we end our museum visits on a transitional notion.

The International Spy Museum gave us a look at pulling everything they had, prior knowledge, outside knowledge, and the desire to implement those categories into future knowledge.  How did what they know and what they learned meet at a confluence for writing that next chapter in their story? And how does that translate to us?

We all come from different backgrounds, different places, different interests, different museums, and different passions. Our stories are results of what has happened and what is happening, crafting the narrative for our next story after this seminar.

We all have plans and designs and ideas for what happens next, but as the Spy Museum showed, sometimes that changes and one must adapt, but that doesn’t mean the core narrative has to change, maybe just the word choice or the size of the page you have to tell your story.  With an experience like this, the opportunity to pull from other narratives, stealing other techniques, and reinforcing your own story with knowledge from another becomes central to moving forward.

On Monday, I’ll be back at the National Museum of Dentistry, and Jaws’ “infamous teeth” were a somber and exciting reminder of that.  Now, I am at the transitional moment, reflecting and growing from the stories I’ve heard and been apart of these two weeks.  I get to go back with 23 new individual stories influencing my decisions, thought processes, and choices, which not only will shape my own story, but the story I am privileged to tell at my museum.

Thanks for the stories.


It’s the gray area where stories lie in today

Nuances do not exist until individuals are both ready to acknowledge them, and contemporary information transitions into primary material.

There is a process for talking about complicated information, and that process takes time. In my first blog post that was not a video of me, I discussed the idea of time. I discussed the relative path that we, as conscious beings, attribute to our lives, although it is an abstract construct with no definitive relationship to reality.

Controversy and nuance live within that construct of time. They are topics, which are attributed to the “gray area,” an abstraction on the scale of two finite ends. They are concepts, topics, which coexist with society. Topics that resonate differently at different times due to mainstream awareness of the ideas and the acknowledgement and reactions that follow.

Slavery has existed since the determination of power, on a scale with the ends of dominance and subservience. Slavery, within the realm of the United States does not share that lengthy existence.  Slavery within the United States is only twice removed in relation to lineage.  There are still remnants of the experiences that took place. Time has allowed it, however, to be acknowledged and personified.  A desire to psychologically understand, and humanize the choices of slave owners destigmatize the controversy.

Time does not heal all wounds in this circumstance, but it has certainly distilled emotions and increased awareness of the ways contemporary slavery can be studied and questioned.

The same concept can be applied to other difficult stories, like the Holocaust.  They are complicated topics, where the choices and stories, although steeped in facts, are still raw with emotions.

Fresh Air & Facts

Mt. Vernon Potomac RiverSitting amidst history, letting time pass by. This was my memorable moment of the day.

Reflecting upon the grandeur of a location, and my part within this space and time.  Knowing that where I sat is because of the storied history that stemmed from this Virginia plantation.

Having a carefully and calculated vista to gaze upon and be lost within as my own respite away from the lines, the emotions, and the feigned and unfeigned interests, my thoughts drifted towards the power of a public space.

With the reflective nature of a curated scene, I left behind the facts of the past and looked at the present, the present that lasted until 3:00pm.

At 3:00pm, the present was transformed to the past, a past steeped in facts and emotions.

Mr. Sheels brought us into the life of 1798, greeting us as General George Washington’s guests.  After introducing himself, the man came to life, sharing personal feelings and thoughts, weaving in query based narratives that fed seamlessly into a story that continues to be summarized as “it’s complicated.”

The power of a performance and perfection of a view glaze over the complications, making the story seem less complex and troubling, but at its core, controversy is complicated.  Creating a story without apology, without anger is complicated.  That is, except for Christopher Sheels who does it with fact, dignity, and grace.