Friday, August 24, 2012

My Name is Aaron

The first thing that you should know about me (because everything that comes after on this page is going to stem from this) is that I am a twenty-something college grad with a Master’s Degree in History and a Bachelor’s in Writing, a year or so past the stage in my professional career where I could be considered “Entry Level.”

Hello. Welcome to my blog. Let me introduce myself. My name is Aaron, and over the last two years I’ve been employed by several museums and companies specializing in historical interpretation in the greater Boston area. The best aspects of this field are the people I work with; they’re here because they have a genuine passion for the subject, and that in and of itself makes this sort of work worth it. The problem with this field (as many of my colleagues will agree) is that, as much as we love it, after the initial excitement of finding that first museum job wears off, many of us start to wonder how long we can afford to keep it.

Over the last few years, this wondering has led me to seek out opportunities that I would have never considered fresh out of university. Myself and (I assume) many of my classmates just sort of assumed that there was work waiting for us, as University Professors probably, and that all it would take was a resume or two to find it. Nowadays my search engines seek out positions which require experience in research and academic writing, but also social media, grant writing, oral interpretation, program development and many more. The job openings flood in, and when they flood back out they take with them an endless stream of cover letters, letters of recommendation, curriculum vitas, first and second inquiries, and all the other tools in the 21st century job-seekers toolbox. By and large, this is my life for the last few years. That’s where this blog comes in.

This will be a blog about history, the interpretation of history, and the pursuit of a job that will allow me to interpret history (and also pay back the student loans that makes this interpretation possible!). In an ideal world, some non-profit would stumble upon this blog and contact me with an offer to research the history of New York’s Five Points, or build a replica colonial village on the coast of Maine. In reality, this blog will be an excuse to stop writing cover letters for an hour or so and do what I actually went to college to do: discuss history.

When I played a Pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation, the Wardrobe Department gave me a little replica knife (kuh-nife, if you spelled the 17th century English dialect phonetically), used for small tasks as well as eating. I learned almost immediately that if you don’t sharpen your little knife constantly, it becomes useless. Like that little knife, even a skilled writer will quickly lose their edge if they do not hone their writing ability. Since I wrote my last paper for graduate school over two years ago, I’ve done a lot of note-taking, a bit of blogging, and just a few projects that employ research and academic writing. This blog will be updated on a more or less regular basis in the hope that constant practice will result in both personal fulfillment and professional and artistic refinement.

This blog is primarily for myself, and for any friends or family who may want to keep current on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. If you found your way to this blog by accident, then welcome. Pull up a chair. If you are yourself a student, job searcher, museum professional, historical researcher, genealogist, or other related field, or even if you aren’t, feel free to read on.

I don’t know. I would love to say that I will be able to update every day or two, but this is dependent on what’s happening in my professional and personal life. I will update when I have the opportunity.

If you made it through high-school social studies, you’ve heard the true but tired old adage that he who does not study history is doomed to repeat it. I will not use this adage. Instead, I will use one by Aristotle.

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” 

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