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Archive for the ‘History Club’ Category

Those of you who have followed this blog in the past will know of the work of the history department and the Oakes Museum at the Asper Burial Ground (aka Little Bermudian Cemetery) in northern York County. During Service Day 2011, the History Club and the Oakes Museum planned the cemetery and plotted graves, photographed and transcribed stones, and surveyed the area for missing stones. The following year, we excavated the bordering embankment demarcating the field in search of stones bulldozed decades earlier.

Then came our work last fall (see our posts here and here) when my historical archaeology class conducted ground-penetrating radar at the site and began the paperwork to register the site with the state.

I’m pleased to announce that the History club and Oakes Museum will once more partner for a Service Day in two weeks (April 10) to finish our work at the site. If you’re interested in signing up for this event, visit this site for registration. You can also contact me, Eli Kane, Katy Kaslow, or Beki Randolph for more information. We would love for you to join us.

Event summary as follows:

This event is sponsored by the History Club, Department of History, and Oakes Museum of Natural History. We will be working to preserve an 18th century historic cemetery known as the Asper Burial Grounds and the "Little Bermudian Brethren Cemetery". Activities will include the following: 1. We will excavate an embankment that we suspect contains bulldozed gravestones. 2. We will document gravestones 3. We will work to complete a Pennsylvania Bureau of Historic Preservation Cemetery Survey Form to register the site with the state 4. We will conduct coring tests within the cemetery in areas we suspect have buried tombstones. 5. We will weed the cemetery with gardening tools 6. We will take photographs.

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As the History Club prepares to take a road trip to Pittsburgh on April 6 to see the Senator John Heinz History Center among other attractions, it’s a good time to catch up with alum Emily Ruby (’02), curator at the Heinz History Center, and ask her some questions.  –Dr. LaGrand

Q.  What’s your professional life been like since graduating from Messiah and how did you get your position as curator at the Heinz History Center?

A.  The summer after I graduated from college I felt pretty lost and was not sure what to do with myself. I was leaning towards some sort of museum/historic site work so I interned at the Frick mansion in Pittsburgh for the summer. I then joined AmeriCorps to give myself a few years to think about graduate school and what I wanted to do in the future. I spent my second year in AmeriCorps interning in a museum in Johnstown working on educational programming. During this time I applied to the Haley graduate program in History at the University of Delaware and I got in, which was very exciting. Hagley is focused in industrial, business and technological history so that was my major and museum studies was my minor.  When I got out I moved home and worked random jobs while volunteering at the Heinz History Center. While I was volunteering the job of Assistant Curator opened up so I applied and finally had a job! It’s stiff competition for jobs and there were many applicants for the job at the Heinz, but because I had been there volunteering for 9 months and they knew me and the work that I did I definitely had an advantage over people just sending in their resumes.

Q.  What have been some of the most interesting or exciting things you’ve been a part of while at the Heinz History Center?

A.  There are a lot of great moments in this job. Many times when I am visiting with people and looking though their collections I can’t believe I get paid to do this, it is always an interesting experience. I get to meet lots of different people and I am given the opportunity to learn about them and their family. It is often a very emotional process for people to let go of their history and you do have to be sensitive to that. I also love the energy in the division during the install of an exhibition, there are always a million things to do and everyone is running around helping in any way they can. From installing artifacts to hanging graphics and vinyl, you definitely just have to jump in and help.

Q.  What can students who will be going to Pittsburgh with the History Club on Saturday, April 6, expect to see at the Heinz History Center?

A.  You will see some great permanent exhibitions on various aspects of Pittsburgh’s history: sports, slavery, and innovation to name just a few. We also have great touring exhibitions and I think the exhibit “1968: The Year That Rocked America” is wonderful. It’s only here for a limited time so it’s great that students will get to see that. The building itself is amazing and historic, you can learn about it if you look to the right when you are standing in front of the elevators on the first floor. There is a ton to see and something for everyone so feel free to wander around and focus on what your particular interests are.

Q.  What do you like best about living in Pittsburgh?

A.  I love the character of Pittsburgh. I lived for many years in the neighborhood of Lawrenceville which is going through a crazy transformation, new shops and restaurants are opening all the time and it was great to be a part of that. The city itself is really becoming a vibrant place and Pittsburgh has been named the most livable city for a number of years now. I even like the gritty old neighborhoods and relics from the steel era and the mix of old timers and young urban dwellers. There are a lot of cultural amenities as well as great restaurants and shops.

Q.  What do you think the future holds for history museums?

A.  That’s a great question and one we ask ourselves frequently here at the Heinz. For us, it is certainly digitizing our collection both archival and objects so that we have a more visible online presence and so that people can access our collection from all over the world. Keeping the next generation engaged through technology and world class exhibitions is definitely a focus for us. Using technology to enhance the museum experience while not losing our focus on content and the care and preservation of our collection is a balance we hope to strike now and in the future.

Q.  Do you have any advice for Messiah History students preparing to graduate and enter the world of work?

A.  Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!

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To all History majors, minors, and faculty:

Looking for a relaxing study break? Interested in further immersing yourself in American Civil War-era history?

Join the History Club on Saturday, 3 November, as we venture down to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, WV! Megan Sullivan, History senior and employee of this National Historical Park for the past several summers, will be showing us around and telling us more of the site’s historical context and significance. We will be leaving relatively early on Saturday morning (not before 8:00 AM) and returning during the late afternoon (before dinner). Specific details regarding our departure time from Messiah College and from Harpers Ferry will be available soon. The trip will cost $2.50 per person. You will also be responsible for bringing money for lunch at a moderately-priced restaurant en route (about $10.00 to $15.00). There are currently 11 seats left. To reserve a seat, contact Megan Keller (mk1273) or Eli Kane (ek1232) as soon as possible (seats will be given to students on a first come, first served basis). Payment for the trip ($2.50) can be made to Brianna LaCasse (unit 5762) by Thursday, 1 November (cash only; exact change, please).

We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Best wishes,
Megan Keller, Eli Kane, Brianna LaCasse, and Ashley King
History Club officers

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Love watching historical films, fellowship with fellow History students and faculty, and FREE PIZZA?!?

Please come to the History Club’s Movie Night this Wednesday, 17 October, at 7:00 PM in Boyer Hall 274. Professor LaGrand will be showing “The Manchurian Candidate” and leading a brief discussion about the film afterwards. Here’s what he has to say about the film:

“The 1962 movie The Manchurian Candidate is a classic political thriller. It stars Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, and Janet Leigh.  The movie is set during the time of the Cold War, the Korean War, and McCarthyism. It features political intrigue, brainwashing, and secret agents. Even to this day, the movie is legendary for its story of conspiracies of both the Left and Right. Join the History Club in watching this classic movie on Wednesday, October 17  at 7:00 pm.”

Sounds awesome! If you love political thriller films, relaxing with friends, and food, please come to Movie Night! We hope to see you all there!

Best,
Megan Keller, Eli Kane, Brianna LaCasse, and Ashley King
History Club officers

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Students from Professor LaGrand’s Urban History class in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, 15 September 2012.

Last Saturday (15 September), students from Professor LaGrand’s Urban History class visited Harrisburg, PA. While there, they visited Bethlehem Steel and the surrounding neighborhood in Steelton, Bellevue Park near Market Street in Harrisburg, and Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the Broad Street Market in Midtown Harrisburg. Included below is a reflection by Megan Keller (History ’13).

 

I grew up twenty minutes away from Harrisburg, but I’ve never fully appreciated the rich cultural diversity and multifaceted history of the city before our trip to Harrisburg this past weekend. Professor LaGrand and his Urban History class exponentially increased my interest in communicating Harrisburg’s vibrant history to broader audiences through a Web site later this semester.

We first visited several landmarks in Steelton. After parking in a Rite Aid lot, we walked down to one of the entrance gates to Bethlehem Steel. The mill is huge! While there, Professor LaGrand told us about the European immigrants and African Americans who once manned the facility. From there, we walked around the town, observing the homes and places of worship of past Steel workers and their families. I found the churches throughout the town to be very interesting, particularly how the churches were architecturally and theologically influenced by specific ethnic groups.

After departing Steelton, we visited Bellevue Park. To be honest, I don’t remember too much about this part of the trip because Professor LaGrand was giving me driving directions and telling me to slow down (I was driving). I do remember, however, that it’s a beautiful neighborhood. The homes are very ornate, the streets are very winding and narrow (I had the pleasure of maneuvering a fifteen-passenger van on them), and the neighborhood is overflowing with lush scenery. It reflects the City Beautiful movement’s devotions to early-twentieth-century materialism and commerce perfectly.

We concluded our lovely trip to Harrisburg by visiting Midtown. We walked around the neighborhood briefly, and I was amazed by the high amount of gentrification taking place in the neighborhood. We then visited Midtown Scholar Bookstore, where I bought two antique postcards related to Harrisburg. By the way, if you haven’t visited the Bookstore, it’s a must-do while attending or visiting Messiah College. We finished up our trip by having lunch at the Broad Street Market, where I bought some delicious Japanese food, apple cider, and a mango.

Overall, the trip to Harrisburg was awesome! I saw some cool stuff, ate some yummy food, bought some postcards, and (much to Professor LaGrand’s dismay) drove a giant van around.  I’d say it was worth getting up at 7:30 AM for!

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Messiah College History Club visited Fallingwater, PA this Saturday, along with the History Club from St. Vincent College.  This photo, shot by Megan Keller, may be the most scenic image in the history of the club.  Well done!

HistoryClub_Fallingwater

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If you weren’t able to make it to the History Club meeting last Thursday, here is the list of events that were discussed.

Saturday, September 24 – This Saturday is the field trip to Fallingwater. If you are signed up to go, please meet at Eisenhower Circle at 7:30 and bring your $4 for admission and some lunch money.

Saturday, October 1 – The history department is taking a field trip to Washington, D.C.  If you are not in a class that is already going and you would like to go, keep your ears open for extra spots!

Tuesday, October 4 – Graduate School Night, Boyer 235 at 4:15 pm –If you are thinking about grad school, you should definitely plan to attend! Former Messiah students Lucy Barnhouse and Kelly Knight will provide information about their experience in grad school.

Tuesday, October 11 – American Democracy Lecture –Speaker Francis Fox Piven at 8 pm in Parmer Cinema

Thursday, October 27 – Movie Night – One of our history professors will show a film and lead a discussion about it’s historical significance. Details on this will follow soon!

Saturday, November 12 – Our own Dr. Fea will lead us in a tour of the battlefield at Gettysburg. This is definitely not something to miss!

Friday, December 2 – Annual Christmas Party – Come and relax with us before the craziness of finals! Time and place are still to be determined.

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