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Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Side of Networking

August 13, 2010

I attended the Association of Indiana Museums (AIM) conference this weekend in Bloomington with the other Local History Services staff, Jeannette and Stacy.

Sunday was a networking and behind-the-scenes touring day. For lots of folks, including me, the networking and informal conversations are the most important part of a conference. That?s when you get to pick each other’s brains and ask the real difficult how? and why? questions. I attended a networking lunch for educators, interpreters and programmers. Everyone shared some of the fun things they were doing in their organizations, and we all lamented the difficulty in getting school field trips to visit.

And for those of you who read the LHS blog for our local food info lunch was at Gratzie, an Italian restaurant on the courthouse square. I had butternut squash ravioli with a brown sugar and pecan sauce. It was very good and tasted like dessert.

We then got a chance to visit the many museums in Bloomington. I visited the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume collection, Mathers Museum of World Cultures and the Monroe County History Center.

The Monroe County History Center is doing a pretty cool thing with a smaller gallery space. They are inviting groups in the county to come display their own history. These kinds of exhibits are sometimes called community curated.? One of the recent displays was put up by the local Roller Derby girls. The display included material on loan from one of the roller derby girls in the 1950s as well as from current skaters. The exhibit brought in roller derby fans not the typical history museum visitor. Working with a broad range of partners helps local museums expand the people who come in the doors.

On the way back, we talked about some of the things Stacy and Jeannette learned from the museums they visited. Jeannette visited the Kinsey Institute. She said it was a good thing I wasn?t on that tour I would have blushed.


Jeff Harris is director of Local History Services. He constantly travels the state for his job, giving him the opportunity to pursue his dream of finding the perfect mashed potatoes.

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