Newfoundland, facilitating workshops on the ways in which heritage organizations can engage older community residents in their work. I had a tremendous time, traveling all over the province from Cape Spear to Gros Morne; from St. Alban's to Cape Anguille and Twillingate (check out a map--I went all over!). I met great people everywhere, saw incredible scenery, ate some of Newfoundland's distinctive cuisine and most of all, learned some terrific stories. I know stories matter and I care deeply about how we use them in museums--but these workshops reminded me again of their importance.
Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the, to me, most memorable object and story. In St. Alban's, the workshop was at the Canadian Legion hall, where there was a small museum dedicated to local residents who had served in the armed forces. One of the participants had forgotten to bring an object, and she went in the museum and came back with a framed photograph of a veteran, probably in his '80s at the time of the photo. It was her uncle, Alistair, I think, and she remembered the day he and all the other men came back from World War II. "Oh, I can still see them sailing up to the dock," she said, "what a party there was that night...I was young, but it went on all night." In that one minute, I gained a little understanding of the isolation and independence of Newfoundlanders, the importance of family and community, and the ways in which a single memory can generate many more for others. Thanks, Newfoundlanders, for sharing your stories with me.