Saturday, February 2, 2013

Playing Hooky

I haven't been able to write as many blog posts as I would like lately. Here's why.

In the next few weeks, a local museum is applying for a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm writing the grant. So one or two days a week, when I write, I'm using a lot of technical jargon and numbers. You do NOT want me to post this grant and have you read it. Trust me.

My dog ate the post.

Two days a week, I'm volunteering in Plimoth Plantation's archives, learning the ins and outs of data and collections management and hearing all of the juicy library gossip. Oh, the gossip. It's like Downtown Abbey without all of the servants.

My dog ate the reason.

I want to apply for a research fellowship to do research and... I dunno, get paid for it or something. The deadline's in May. I know that this is 3 months away, but what with the dog eating everything in sight I figure that I should give myself some time for a few false starts.

3. Job. Contacts. Per week. Massachusetts Unemployment is a cruel, hard mistress.

Meagan Baco has very kindly invited me to write a few blog posts for If I screw up a post on Blogger, I have the power to take it down and delete your taunting comments. If I screw up on HistPres... well, I don't want to screw up on HistPres. So I'm taking my time writing this one.

Fellowship research for the rest of the day; hopefully I can get back to posting regularly in the next few days.

*     *     *     *     *

Do you have a convenient excuse that I didn't think of? Well, don't post it just yet... the dog is watching. Give it ten minutes.

Friday, February 1, 2013

$550,000 Face-lift for Plymouth's Burial Hill?

When the Pilgrims first began dying on the cold shores of Massachusetts, their friends and loved ones buried them in the soft sand of Plymouth Beach. A few months into its existence, the town was in a much better place; the weather was warming up, a few houses had been built, and the bodies of the departed could be interred in the town's ritzy Burial Hill district.

This historic burying ground in Plymouth holds the final resting places of the colony's governor and historian, the venerable (and tedious) William Bradford, his fellow Mayflower passengers William and Mary Brewster, and John Howland, the Pilgrim who fell overboard.  For religious reasons, the very early settlers did not mark graves with headstones; the oldest known stone is that of Edward Gray,  buried here in 1681.During the colony's early years, the hill was the highest point in the town; a strategically important spot upon which the pragmatic Pilgrims built a fort that doubled as a place of worship.

In the spring, the Plymouth Community Preservation Committee will ask the town meeting to approve article 16F. This legislation would allocate $550,000 dollars to restore up to 1,000 headstones on the slopes of Burial Hill. The issue has been on the table for several years, and has faced persistent competition from other restoration projects. However, it's likely that the state of Massachusetts will approve the site for National Register of Historic Places status sometime this year, making its upkeep in the meantime that much more urgent.

Whether you find yourself on Burial Hill as a heritage tourist, a jogger, or a ghost hunter, the passage of this funding will keep this remnant of the Old Colony looking (relatively) young and open for everyone to enjoy. Fingers crossed.

You can read more here, at Wicked Local.

*     *     *     *     *

Are you the person who painted graffiti on the graveyard's very nice map of Plymouth Harbor? Do it where everyone can see in the space below. I triple-dog dare you.