A New School Year Approaches

For a listing of Trails of History events this weekend and next, go here.

It’s back-to-school season and that can mean only one thing. The Beloit College Mindset List is out—everything you need to know to understand where the Class of 2017 is coming from. I used to really enjoy reading the list, but for some reason, this year’s just makes me feel like an old f*%t. It didn’t help that I watched the webcast by the list compilers, Ron Nief and Tom McBride, who’ve turned this into, as they put it, “a cottage industry” (you can buy their book, or their upcoming book, find them on Facebook or Twitter, catch one of their speaking engagements, etc. And I should have put a ® behind Mindset List, but didn’t.)

Okay, so what does this have to do with Trailheads, you ask? I don’t know. We spend a lot of time trying to understand what audiences and potential audiences think and what they want to see in museums. There is a generation gap (or two or three), and I think there’s a significant role for museums and historic sites as bridges. The Mindset List is a useful tool, but it might be better for us just to talk to the people we want to reach, not view them as an alien species. Or maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of it first.**

Not really sure what brought that on. And now for something completely different…

Cornwall Iron Furnace’s second annual Blast! event was a success and from the photos posted on Facebook it looks like people had a great time sampling local wine and beer as they supported the site and its other programs.

During last week’s Erie Gives online fundraising initiative, the Flagship Niagara League received almost $9,700 in pledges, bringing their three-year participation in the program to almost $28,000 in donations.

As part of next weekend’s massive Railfest 2013 at Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton Iron Furnaces will host a Civil War encampment and offer guided tours to visitors. Go here for more info.

Ephrata Cloister’s collaboration with the Lancaster Spinners and Weavers Guild received some good coverage this week. The two organizations joined forces to revamp and maintain a garden at the historic site showing plants used to dye natural fibers in the 18th century. Additional assistance came from Hans Herr House and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum.

Circling back to our school theme (well, it was sort of a school theme), Bucks County Community College will include a case study at Washington Crossing Historic Park in its course on preservation assessments of historic buildings (see story here).

**(On the other hand, I found the Language Mindset List on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Lingua Franca” blog fairly funny.)


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