Renting a Hall for a Vintage Dance

One of the big challenges in putting on a vintage dance event is finding the right hall. Here are a few thoughts on the topic from someone who has been doing it for a few decades.

Conference Presentation on Marketing Your Library

I gave a presentation called "Marketing with Everything You've Got: the interconnectedness of all things" at the latest convention of the users of the Library automation system that my employer uses (the vendor is called SIRSI/Dynix).

The presentation advocates a holistic approach to marketing that first emphasizes good customer service. While the Powerpoint slides lack much of my narrative, they do give a fair outline of my arguments.

Medieval Living History

Video taken at medieval living history programs.

The Torturer's Dilemma

There has been much talk lately about torture -- with the defenders asserting that, moral objections aside, it was effective and therefore justified. The "ticking timebomb" is held up as the exemplary scenario. I'm afraid this is illogical, given the ultimate dynamic of torture.

Museum Photographic Collections on Flickr

It looks like venerable institutions like the Smithsonian and Eastman collection are putting their photo archives up on Flickr. I haven't been able to find a proper "portal" that links to all of them, but here's what I have found:


The Smithsonian

LIbrary of Congress

Nationaal Archief Netherlands

The Library of Virgina

Some Techno Thoughts on Getting the Word Out

In my job as a corporate web guy, and in my capacity as a compulsive organizer of events, I have had a lot of cause to ponder the use of technology to promote what ever it is I am involved in. Here are a few random thoughts for others in the same boat.

The Living History "Flash Mob"

Lately I have been pondering the situation of the "civilian re-enactor". This is someone who chooses to portray a non-military person at public history events. This civilian often finds him or herself marginalized at events that are really all about soldiers marching about and playing "bang you're dead" or gunfighters doing what ever gunfighters do, as well as also target shooting or playing "bang you're dead".

Further, the civilian is often, by choice and situation a free agent without the support provided by an established group. This can be very isolating, and seriously degrade one's quotient of fun, with nothing much to do and no one to talk to.

Modern technology however offers an interesting opportunity to mitigate the negative aspects of wanting to portray the ordinary man, woman or child of the era while increasing the fun and impact of our activities.

A modern phenomenon is the "flash mob", where a group of individuals use email, texting, social networks, cell phones and the like to create collective action. Often it's things like political protests or stunts. However, this same model of the flash mob can be applied to our hobby, and allow the benefits of a supportive group of like minded people without the complexity and constraint of formal organizations.

I would like to suggest that we who portray historical folk embrace the model of the "flash mob" and use technology to make our mark on the world.

Flash Packet Sings Sea Shanties

Flash Packet, which consists of Bill Howard, Walter Nelson, Sheila Murphy-Nelson and Scott Hulett; sings sea songs of the 19th Century

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