The History Trust seeks a Project Curator who will collaborate with community scholars to create an online exhibit in early 2022. Funding for the exhibit project ($7,500) is being provided by The Maine Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The History Trust is a collaborative of 13 small, independent, non-profit
historical societies, libraries, and museums that care for historical
collections related to the Acadia region of coastal Maine. This coastal
region has a rich, unique history, and our partner institutions have
collectively amassed holdings that constitute the primary source evidence
necessary to tell stories of the region’s social and environmental history.
The project will move our organizations and communities forward in three ways.
1) The primary goal is to engage students, family historians, academic researchers, and the year-round and seasonal communities to foster deeper understanding and appreciation of our shared history, and to promote use of our online resources which number about 10,000 items.
2) The exhibit will provide volunteer archivists at member organizations a structured focus for adding and presenting historical material in a way that
engages users while also making connections between Trust members’ holdings.
3) We hope to demonstrate relevance with this exhibit. To have collective impact and move toward accomplishing The History Trust mission, we must demonstrate to our communities and to potential funders that our work–and the historical perspective it provides–is relevant to modern life.
As part of the project we will conduct archival public open-houses at partner facilities to share physical collections with area residents and visitors, and to publicize digital archival activities (assuming COVID pandemic restrictions allow).
The online exhibit will explore the past and present identities of communities in the Mount Desert Island region, focused on winter activities. While a theme has not yet been determined, possibilities included outdoor pursuits or local basketball matches.
Specifically, we will present photos and text about winter activities that are emblematic of our local communities. The activities will serve as touchstones for sharing engaging stories about the people of our region and the meaning of community. For while there is a collective regional sense of place, it is composed of multiple, strongly-held affiliations with more specific places. We will attempt to instigate a greater appreciation of these places and celebrate the responses they evoke using a multidisciplinary approach.
Online technology allows for openness and inclusivity among our member institutions as well as the means to share resources with the broader public. The exhibit will provide a gateway into the larger historical collections presented in the Digital Archive, collections that offer insight into how real people lived on coastal Maine islands and peninsulas, and about the varied visitors to our shores.
Digital Archive is unique to our work. It is an online Omeka archive that stores and presents images and information about historical collections related to life in the coastal Acadia region. It provides a structured method for presenting collections in a way that engages users while also making connections between Trust members’ holdings. Images emblematic of the theme determined once the Project Curator is engaged will be taken from the History Trust Digital Archive and the exhibit will serve as a portal to the virtual archive for those online visitors who wish to learn more about a particular place within the region.
While the online platform will be determined once the Project Curator is onboard, we used ArcGIS StoryMaps through a license held by College of the Atlantic for our 2021 exhibit. At the core of engaging community residents, students and teachers, visitors, and scholars is fostering imagination and curiosity. Maps matched with the material in Digital Archive could create an interactive narrative that’s easily accessible. (Other possible digital storytelling tools include TimelineJS, Juxtapose, or Soundcite.)
The History Trust will contract for a Project Curator. The Curator will work with members of the Trust to research and write an online exhibit about our collective archival collections. This follows our Spring 2021 online exhibit, “Where Our History is Housed” (http://alliance.historytrust.org/where-our-history-is-housed/). While we successfully mounted the 2021 exhibit, we learned that the task was not well suited to volunteer committee management. We need singular, focused energy combined with a humanities perspective to mount our 2022 online exhibit.
Project Curator Qualifications
- a degree, training, and/or experience in presenting humanities disciplines to the public,
- experience formulating interpretive themes,
- excellent interpersonal skills and experience facilitating the work of others,
- the ability to manage multiple tasks and work with multiple organizations simultaneously,
- demonstrable project management experience and excellent organizational skills,
- excellent writing and editing skills.
Respond by January 7 to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include relevant training, experience and skills, proposed daily rate, and estimated number of days required to complete the project.
~ Image: “Two Christmas cards – Mabel A. Mayhen,” Great Cranberry Island Historical Society, go to item