Thursday, June 23, 2011
"Is John Your Brother?" or Why Stories Matter
I realized how strongly I feel that local history museums are for locals. I think many organizations (and communities) went on an unsuccesful hunt for tourists for a number of years. But think about it. Do tourists become members at local history museums? Do they donate artifacts? Do they bequeath endowments? Do they volunteer? Those are the crass reasons to focus on involving your local community.
But there's other reasons that are more important. Real stories really matter. They allow us to put our lives in perspective; to understand people different from us, but from the same place; and when carefully sought out and engagingly told, they provide a place where everyone in your community can belong. And a focus on community means those local stories can be the core of your work--and you might be surprised how local stories, compelling told, can connect with other people.
My family has all moved away from the place I grew up but today reminded me that those connections are life-long ones. And yes, John is my brother and I heard a couple funny stories about him today!