I am writing this post from my new office at Simmons University School of Library and Information Science where I am beginning as an Assistant Professor. I am beyond excited about this next chapter in my career and eager to explore all that the university and greater Boston area have to offer. I can’t wait to get to know new colleagues and visit all of the incredible archives, libraries, and museums around here! I’ll be posting again with more detail about my position, courses, and syllabi soon.
Since I’m here, I figured I’d also share some relevant highlights from my summer so far. With a change of position and move looming, I made sure to get out and visit a few placed in the DC area I had not been to before. Among these were the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, part of the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Musuem. This was a fascinating space, full of incredibly rare and unique planes and related artifacts, including civilian aircraft, military and space equipment. I will share one photograph of a vintage computer, a UNIVAC 1232 which helped track and manage US government satellites through 1990 (?!?).
I did spend some time looking at the Enola Gay and considering it’s representation in the space. The tour guide I heard gave much more context than the object label which was woefully short. The Enola Gay has been covered far more thoroughly than I ever could (for example here and here), and I will only add that it’s deeply troubling that the visible text is all that could be agreed upon in the midst of the controversy. I hope that soon we can reach a place as a country where difficult conversations are possible not only about the atomic bomb and the end of World War II, but also the myriad pressing issues of the day including racism, bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny. Honestly the Enola Gay deserves its own post so I’ll have to get to that next.
During my parents’ final visit to DC before my move, I took them to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for their first time (my second). This is an amazing museum that everyone should go to as soon as possible. The image below is of a very striking object that made me pause: a guard tower from Angola Prison, founded on the grounds of a plantation which held enslaved people and remains open as the largest maximum-security prison in the US.
Finally, I attended the Archival and Education Research Institute (AERI) 2019 last month in Liverpool, UK. As always, this was an amazing institute and I was so happy to see old colleagues from around the world while also making new connections. The talks and workshops were excellent, as was the Beatles tour which I attended with much anticipation. The smile on my face in front of the gate to Strawberry Fields, an orphanage where John Lennon used to hang around as a kid, says it all.
That’s it for now. I’m getting settled at Simmons and can’t wait for the school year to begin! If you are reading this and ever find yourself in the Boston area, get in touch!