Monday, May 16, 2011
What Can You Do Besides Start a Museum?
In Tompkins County, NY, a local group, spear-headed by county historian Carol Kammen (known to many readers of History News for her regular column) has established scholarships at the local community college to honor four local Civil War nurses. It would have been easy to say, "oh, we should have a museum of nursing, or a museum of civil war nursing!" Then a non-profit would have been established, a board of directors established, a building donated, a small group of objects obtained, and then...and then what? It would join the dozens of other small organizations that are struggling to find adequate financial resources, volunteers, and community interest.
Instead, the proposed $80,000 scholarship fund (of which more than half has already been raised) will provide support for nurses and "reminds us of the sacrifices made by many - both past and present. Your support creates scholarships, rewards those seeking an education, aids faculty with their own professional development, and strengthens the quality of life for all" (from the college website).
Susan Emily Hall of Ulysses, Sarah Graham Parker of Enfield, Sophronia Bucklin of Auburn and Julia Cook--names that otherwise might have been forgotten will be remembered through acts, not just through a static display.
If you have examples of ways in which we can engage our communities in history outside the framework of a historical society--please let me know!
Image: Sophronia Bucklin, via the Tompkins History Center