2021 Conference Concurrent Sessions

The MAM Conference Committee put together this draft outline of sessions, chosen from the proposals they received. 

This online annual conference will also include plenary sessions and networking activities. 

More information and to register for the conference.

Links to attend individual sessions will be made available to registered attendees. All sessions will be recorded and recordings will be made available to registered attendees.

Thursday, Oct 7, 2:30-3:30PM

What Unites Us: Collaborating Across Organizations

Presented by Shannon Gilmore, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Historical Association; Larissa Vigue Picard, Executive Director of the Pejepscot History Center; Audrey Wolfe, Collections and Education Manager for Freeport Historical Society

This interactive session is about working collaboratively across organizations to fill gaps in storytelling, resources, and programming. The facilitators will conduct breakout sessions designed to facilitate attendee brainstorming on how to collaborate with other organizations in their own region. (The above three organizations are embarking on greater collaborative efforts in the coming year and will provide an ongoing example of how the process can work.) Participants will learn how dissolving (false) boundaries between organizations leads to greater strengths for all involved; collaborating on a (however loosely) connected theme is crucial to maintain cohesiveness; and reaching out to potential partners and sharing assets spreads the work in a balanced way.

One Stone, Many Stories: The Hill Family Billboard Monument

Presented by Katie Worthing, Executive Director at the Yarmouth History Center; Ron Romano, Historian for Spirits Alive and board officer for the National Association for Gravestone Studies; Craig Stinson, independent historian, genealogist, and Hill family descendant

This session delves into the fascinating history and recent restoration of the Hill family monument in Yarmouth’s Baptist Cemetery. It will highlight the ways different research efforts overlap and evolve over time to reveal new stories and a richer understanding of local history. Ron Romano’s recent research into this unusual “billboard” monument brings new insight into this type of gravestone in Maine, while Craig Stinson’s thorough genealogical research enriches our understanding of the people, his own ancestors, memorialized on the stone. Katie Worthing discusses recent archival discoveries that helped fill in previously unknown personal details about the Hill family. You will be amazed at the stories this single marker can tell! This session will foster collaborative and helpful relationships between researchers and organizations, expand the geographical boundaries of local history, and embrace archival serendipity.

Social Media 101

Presented by John Taylor, Museum Assistant at the Margaret Chase Smith Library and State Coordinator for National History Day in Maine; Alex Cave, Museum Events Manager at Strawberry Banke Museum

Like it or not, social media is an essential tool needed to highlight collections and accomplishments, advertise events, connect with patrons and colleagues, and remain relevant in the field of humanities. This session will tell you how to get started by focusing on the most basic of basics: why social media is important, how to create a Facebook account, the difference between Twitter and Instagram, and what makes a good or engaging post. Participants will leave with an understanding of why social media is important, how to navigate social media, and how to create useful and engaging content.

Impactful Collections: How Our Past Informs Our Present and Future

Presented by Raney Bench, Executive Director of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society

Our collections contain vital information that can help us better understand the events and important issues taking place around us. Without a thorough understanding of how things were, we cannot recognize change over time, or plan for the future we want. This session will share ideas for how to pull data from historic collections, bring diverse partners to the table, and convene conversations about how the past can inspire us to envision a better future. Raney Bench will share how the Mount Desert Island Historical Society launched an initiative to study climate change based on historic observations found in the collection, making the Society an important partner in conversations about one of the most pressing issues our world faces. By asking how historic data can answer questions about the speed at which climate change is impacting our ecosystems, the Society identified a gap in the community between researchers and the general public. Museums enjoy a high level of trust among our visitors and have expertise in interpretation. By comparing historic collections to modern data we can make history matter to our visitors in new and inspiring ways. Raney will demonstrate how organizations of any size can have a major impact on making history matter, rethinking the role of collections informs contemporary issues, and leveraging partnerships extends impact and eases work and financial burdens.

Thursday, Oct 7, 4:00-5:00PM

Into the Darkness: Shining a Light on the Rick Hautala Papers

Presented by Dr. Anastasia Weigle, Assistant Professor at University of Maine-Augusta

Processing literary papers is challenging, so the importance in understanding provenance and original order are all guiding factors. Anastasia will share her experiences in the inventory, processing, and creation of finding aid and indexes for the literary papers of Maine author Rick Hautala. He was recognized with many accolades over his career of more than 30 years. Before his death, he received Brahm Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award. Discussion will focus on the challenges of literary papers and how to determine order that follows the author's creative process and writing career path. Participants will learn how to determine organization of literary papers, challenges in processing literary papers, and how to convey the importance of literary papers as cultural historical documents, regardless of genre, and their importance for future researchers.

Including Crew, Children, and Women's Voices in Merchant Marine Interpretation

Presented by Cipperly Good, Richard Saltonstall Jr. Curator of Maritime History at Penobscot Marine Museum; Jeana Ganskop, Education Director at Penobscot Marine Museum

In 2021, Penobscot Marine Museum’s sea captain’s house undergoes a reinterpretation to include the crew and family perspective of life aboard Searsport’s merchant ships and ashore. The typical Victorian furniture will be replaced by collections with direct ties to the new inclusions. Building upon our annual “Last Night at the Museum”, where the “spirits” of families and crew tell tales in the historic house, their diverse stories will now be told in our staff-led tours. An interactive waiting room for the guided tours will give visitors a chance to experience the daily chores done by crew, as well as the songs and stories they told in their downtime. Our proposed presentation provides the maritime community with a case study of the exhibit conception and research process of creating a more inclusive and diverse interpretation of life at sea and at home. Participants will learn about finding primary sources from women, children, and workers; transforming the typical Victorian historic house tour into a story of one's town and its citizens; and going beyond the white male narrative.

Discussing Mental Health Through Historic Collections

Presented by Cynthia Walker, Executive Director of the Brick Store Museum; Libby Bischof, Director of the Osher Map Library and discussion facilitator for the Maine Humanities Council

The Brick Store Museum partnered with the Maine Humanities Council for a pilot project to create a discussion series based on archival documents written by historical Kennebunk community members from the 18th and 19th centuries. Each of the letters or diaries chosen for the program illustrated struggles with mental health (i.e. depression) and shared emotion through the centuries. This session will highlight how local institutions can play a role in the mental health discussion at large and focus on the specific steps through which you can build this type of program. Participants will learn how museums can take part in the mental health movement, about connecting with audiences in a new and intimate way and about using primary resources as a way to connect to the past through emotion.

Franco-American Pathways: Outreach for Archives and Special Collections Using Podcasting

Presented by Julia Rhinelander, Library Specialist at the University of Southern Maine; Anna Faherty, Archivist for the University of Maine Franco-American Collection

We will discuss the podcast Franco-American Pathways and its vision for using podcasting as a means to promote archives and special collections. Since the release of the first episode in May, Julia and Anna have seen a boom of interest in the collection, not only from members of the academic community, but also from young Francos who want to reconnect with their heritage. Despite the show being in its early stages, Julia and Anna have been amazed at the outreach opportunities that have presented themselves since the conception of the show. Join them in this presentation/discussion to talk about ways that podcasting can be used to support new outreach initiatives at your archive! Participants will learn concrete ways to use podcasting as an outreach tool for your collection, learn about the stages of creating a podcast for your collection, from start to finish (including some guiding questions about production schedules, funding, etc.), and connect with folks who have a similar vision to support and collaborate.

Friday, Oct 8, 10:30AM-11:30AM

Front and Center: Telling Forgotten, Ignored, and Hidden Stories

Presented by Peggy Konitzky, Midcoast Maine Site Manager for Historic New England; Marilyn Keith Daly, Southern Maine Site Manager for Historic New England

Historic New England Site Managers Marilyn Keith Daly and Peggy Konitzky will discuss reinterpreting historic house museums to tell untold stories, stories that were hidden, never known or deliberately obscured – including those of indigenous people whose presence and contributions have been ignored for decades. Marilyn will describe the 1718 Sayward Wheeler House’s transformation to tell the stories of enslaved household members Prince and Cato who sought freedom while the wealthy and esteemed property owner, Jonathan Sayward, found himself at the center of turmoil. Peggy will talk about re-centering the 1807 Nickels-Sortwell House tour to focus on untold stories - the human cost of the Nickels family wealth and elegant lifestyle, the story of Mary Turner who ran the house as an inn for 44 years whose story was almost lost and the stories of Irish immigrants Margaret O'Hanlon and Josephine Dodge who, with butler Ross Elwell, served the Sortwell family for over 40 years. Marilyn and Peggy will discuss the historical sleuthing, collaborations and creativity required to develop the new visitor experiences as well as the challenges encountered along the way. 1. How to think about changing the visitor experience at your museum. Participants will learn what kind of research is required to develop new interpretations, where can you find the information, and what are the challenges that you may encounter.

Finding Hidden Materials: Three Case Studies of Inadvertent Erasure

Presented by Susan Pinette, Director of Franco American Programs and Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Maine; Jacob Albert, Franco American Digital Archive Project Manager at the University of Maine

The study of French Canadian and Acadian heritage communities in the United States is burdened by a lack of awareness of and access to source materials. The neglect of Franco-American source materials is rooted in longstanding structural inequality stemming from a history of language discrimination, marginalization and lack of cultural heritage funding and support. Though this cultural denigration has subsided as Franco Americans have become more “white,” traces of this history are indelible. A 2012 Maine State Legislature poll found markedly lower economic and educational achievement within this community, and 20% of Franco Americans said they or someone they knew had suffered ethnic discrimination. This history has also affected the discovery and preservation of Franco American source materials. This presentation will walk through three specific cases of inadvertent erasure that we have found as we work to build FADA/PFA, a bilingual portal to Franco American archives. We will also explain how we aim to address these erasures and make these collections available to a wide range of users on both sides of the border both inside and outside of our communities. We would like attendees to see how inadvertently items can be hidden. We would also like to share our solutions to these erasures. Finally, we would like to invite anyone to look in their collections for items that might be hidden that we could include in our portal. 

The Core of the Story: Using Omeka as a Foundation for Storytelling

Presented by Greta Schroeder, Coordinator for the Maine Contemporary Archives; Jill Piekut Roy, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Patten Free Library; Hannah Stevens, Archivist and Librarian at College of the Atlantic

Each individual item we care for is a building block for many different stories. Using the accessible web-publishing platform Omeka.net, members of the Maine Contemporary Archives Collaborative will demonstrate how to build a solid foundation for storytelling with digital collections. The presenters will cover the basics of setting up an Omeka site, enabling public submissions, uploading items, and creating online exhibits. The workshop will include an interactive exploration of DublinCore, a simple metadata standard designed to describe virtually anything! In partnership with the Maine State Library, Maine Contemporary Archives Collaborative has provided free Omeka.net accounts to our member libraries, archives, and museums, plus peer support in the effort to collect, preserve, and provide access to materials related to Maine community members' experiences of current events. Participants will gain familiarity with the Omeka platform, explore storytelling with digital materials, and learn about membership in the Maine Contemporary Archives Collaborative.

From the Intern's Perspective: Navigating a Remote Internship

Presented by Stella Gonzalez and Devon Berkeley, interns at the Maine State Museum

Stella and Devon will present their personal experience as virtual interns for the Maine State Museum in their endeavor within the statewide Freedom and Captivity Project. Devon will speak to her experience developing lesson plans and the associated activities and Stella will discuss her experience with creating written materials from primary sources. They will discuss what went well during the internship and what could have been improved upon, taking special note of the virtual aspect. This will be an opportunity for different institutions to get an idea on how to design virtual student experiences and for prospective students to get a first-hand account of how to make the most out of a remote work environment and opportunity. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the virtual internship experience through first-hand accounts, discuss how to support students who are performing remote research and the most effective ways to promote virtual collaboration, and troubleshoot any difficulties and struggles that arise from a work-from-home environment.

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