The four exhibits in the museum that I talked about in blog post one have been there for some time. The exhibit we get the most comments and positive feedback on is Appalachian Women, featuring an interview with Sarah Gudger. The interview is a video and recording of a reading of a 1937 interview with Sarah Gudger, who was one of the oldest living former slaves in Buncombe county. In the interview she recalls her master saying she was around fifty at the end of the Civil War when she was freed. At the time of her interview she lived in Asheville with relatives. She died months after she was interviewed at the age of 122 years. The interview was digitized along with many slave deeds and records from Buncombe County. We are leading the movement in North Carolina to digitize slave records. I would love to know more about this effort to make old and controversial records more accessible for the general population. Slave records especially will help many who want more information on their ancestors and history.
The Wonder Woman Exhibit we are working on will replace a small alcove containing an exhibit on quilts. The space is limited, so the exhibit will contain only what is necessary to tell the story of Wonder Woman. Deciding what is essential to her narrative is difficult. Heidi has asked me to focus on her history as a character in comics and TV instead of the story of her creator William Moulton Marston. One of the most significant times in the history of Wonder Woman is her resurgence in popularity in the 1970’s. Gloria Steinem, who featured Wonder Woman on the cover of Mrs. Magazine in the early 1970’s, brought this new breath of life to the character. We could not locate an original copy of the magazine, but Heidi has emailed Mrs. Magazine to see if they have a copy they will loan us!
In the weeks since my first blog post, a big challenge has presented itself. My family had to go to Pennsylvania because of an imminent death in the family and we stayed much longer than expected in a place with limited Internet. It was a trip that was necessary for us as a family, but I had to take off my internship and we all had to take time off our jobs. I planned my summer so that my work and internship hours would work perfectly as long as I did not take many days off, so this threw off my plans for the summer. For the first several days, the experience of sitting and waiting with nothing constructive to do made me anxious, but I eventually figured out ways to work from my phone without Internet and positive ways to pass time with my family in a time of grief. I went to check out books on Wonder Woman from the teeny local library and I took notes by hand. I am also writing this blog post in the notes app on my phone and will post it at a later date. This unexpected situation made me realize that no matter how well you plan, life happens, that people you love will need you and often being there for them is worth more than a paycheck or class credit, and that sometimes the very best you can do under the given circumstances is better than nothing.