January 28th was a big day for me.
It was my 1-year #Workiversary (work-anniversary for those readers not interested in all the hashtags and portmanteau going on these days, but I technically am a millennial so sometimes I need to act like one. Forgive me).
I have been the Community Engagement Manager for Historic New Harmony (HNH) for a solid year now and that means that, while people and places in town became familiar to me within a few weeks and months, our yearly projects and programs are just now coming back around. I’m falling into the routine of the semesters at USI- knowing where to go on campus to get things done, how to get students’ attention at certain times of the day, days of the week, and which weeks to avoid all together like midterms and around spring break. I’m also falling into a routine in New Harmony as well. I quickly learned that New Harmony Business Associates meetings are on the first Wednesday of every month and I gradually learned which lunch and dinner specials fell on which days at each of the local restaurants. But, now that I’ve passed the one-year mark with HNH, I’m getting into the groove of our project and programming schedule as well. The progression of the calendar has come full circle!
The first major event that I had a hand in last year was Heritage Artisans Days in April of 2014. I was so excited for this experience to come. I started pitching in 2 months before the event, but it was clear that there had been assignments, deadlines, and various other to-do lists since October! And boy, does this well-oiled-machine-of-a-system pay off.
I was blown away the very first morning of the event last April. I had been prepared for 15 demonstrators, many volunteers from town and campus, and close to 3,000 school children descending on New Harmony over the three days of the event, but it’s another thing to see it. When it all came together, the demonstrators arriving and setting up the day before, the preparations at the Atheneum Visitors Center and the excitement mounting as so many kids piled off of the buses- my anticipation paid off. The three days were a ton of fun and it was neat to be on the other side of school fieldtrips- helping with the planning and orchestrating. It was also incredible to see so many students enjoying the town’s history in such an exciting and engaging way.
My assignments for this year increased since I wasn’t quite so green anymore and was able to take on my fair share from the start. One assignment that I really enjoyed was helping to research new demonstrators in addition to our traditional beekeepers, soap maker, tin smith, oxen-driver, and the like. Since this was our 30th annual event, we wanted something unique this year to celebrate. I had a blast researching and contacting various demonstrators for more information on their crafts and availability.
The new addition we settled on, however, takes the cake! New in 2015, Historic New Harmony is pleased to present The Duelist! Michael Ramsey will be demonstrating the art of 19th century tailoring the mornings at the Double Log Cabin. Every afternoon at 1pm he will provide a brief historical lecture on dueling at Maclure Square and will then demonstrate a duel with his good friend and our returning 19th Century Doctor, Albert Roberts (click here to see a YouTube video of The Doctor at Heritage Artisans Days 2012).
This exciting new addition will be free and open to the public and all spectators are encouraged to gather before 1pm to ensure a view of the action.
All questions about Heritage Artisans Days can be directed to Historic New Harmony’s Visitors Services Coordinator, MeLissa Williams: MJWilliams2@usi.edu. Questions about the Duelist can be directed to HNH’s Community Engagement Manager, Catherine Cotrupi at CCotrupi@usi.edu. Both can also be reached at 812-682-4488.
More information about Heritage Artisans Days can be found here.
Enjoy our #VisionOfUtopia!