By all accounts, the 2009 MCHP Orientation, held at MHS’s campus in downtown Portland, was a rousing success.
Keynote speaker Beth De Wolfe of UNE wowed the crowd with her dynamic speaking ability, wit, and content-rich talk on “doing good history.” Community teams had a chance to begin the project planning process via brainstorming activities. A panel of 2008 MCHP folks provided solid, real-world advice for managing the work of the project. Maine Memory Network staff Kathy Amoroso and Fran Pollitt delivered clear and concise hands-on training on the scanning-and-cataloging process. And there were plenty of chances for fun and festivity–a late afternoon reception in the Longfellow Garden (with perfect weather!), tours of the Longfellow House and newly renovated MHS library, and a generally jolly mood carried throughout the two days.
Perhaps the most signficant factor, though, was the passion and commitment of the participants. The 2009 community teams from Bangor, Biddeford, Blue Hill, Cumberland/North Yarmouth, Guilford, Hallowell, Lincoln, and Scarborough are simply outstanding, and the energy and enthusiasm among team members is infectious. They all deserve a big round of applause for their dedication to local history and collaborative community work. No wonder those eight applications rose to the top of the heap!
And now comes the real work–actually doing all the parts of the MCHP. The first of 10 monthly team planning meetings are taking place over the next few weeks; on the agenda is an initial discussion of topics, continued refinement of team roles and responsibilities, drafting a work plan, planning the September community conversation, and more. Meanwhile, teams are beginning to schedule work sessions and dive into the collections around which the website content will revolve.
It’s an exciting time. And while, admittedly, it’s also overwhelming, most people seem buoyed up by the momentum created at Orientation. We here at MHS will do everything we can to continue building that wave of support and enthusiasm for a smooth sail throughout the year–and a great, big, splashy finish come next June!