What Is It That You Do? Part 2

I do believe that we have one of the most unusual jobs around, thankfully not a dirty job, well not too dirty. Since I tried to lay out the nuts and bolts about the work we do, I thought I’d share some of the cool elements, like how what we write and photograph at work gets used in all sorts of ways. With it just being Josh and I out on these tours one responsibility we have is to photograph the events and the exhibits in interesting locations. These photos are used for many different things, our company puts them on their website and Facebook page; they use them in promotional materials for the tour and their own marketing materials and a special bonus for this tour is that the Library of Congress also gets my images. These are not only a part of the Library’s collection now but many have now been used in publications by the Library. On our last tour, Reflections, I was fortunate to find that a few magazines published my shots along with articles. I also write blogs and posts for most of our tours; my shinning achievement is that LOC publishes my posts on their blog as a guest writer. While my job is already pretty cool the opportunities for creative growth have been unmatched.

This link will take you a Library of Congress publication that used our Photos!

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Hello and Goodby

Our nutty summer is coming to an end and we are getting back to normal, normal for us.  Josh and I have been bouncing between tours for months now, spending the last two weeks on different trucks; Monday we met back up.  I was in Indy and drove to get him in Springfield, IL; where my father still is.  We were able to spend a day with him and mom at the hospital.  The team there is work through all the issue popping up here and there but his pain is being managed and physical therapy is going well.  His strength gives out before his pain gets him!!!  There are still some trouble with his heart but we take the good with the bad.  It was so hard to leave.

We are also saying goodbye to the Reflections Tour, it is currently sitting in the shop being taken apart and moved into shipping crates.  We have worked on the truck for more than a year and it has a special place in our hearts.  This was the first truck we got to take ownership of.  It has not been easy and there were many set backs but I am so glad we had a chance to work on something like this.  The content alone was tough to work on. I am sure we would be sad if there was time to dwell on the end but as soon as we did our final walk through there was a packet of info about our next tour handed over. We have just a few weeks to prepare for the launch of the Library of Congress national tour. There is lots to learn, lots to plan and lots of work. I have posted the schedule for our first 5 weeks out but I have a hint of the next 20! Good news is we will hit so many of your states. Minnesota, Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, and tons more! Get ready folks here we come.

Cemetery Walk

In the natural ebb and flow of a tour you inevitably run through periods where there are uncontrollable problems and shows that don’t meet expectations.  The weather and equipment problems and myriad of other difficulties can take its toll.  It can be easy to get caught up in trying to get to and through events and forget why we do a tour like Reflections.  We of course always strive to have successful events and meet the goals and desires of our hosts and sponsors but it is still difficult to predict what will make an event a success or a disappointment.  It is very disheartening for us to see our hosts try so hard but sometimes doing everything right is just not enough.  It can take a particularly unique event to pull you out of this rut.

Our latest show was at the countries second largest cemetery and home to some pretty amazing Americans.  The grounds are so large that a marathon is run here.  It was interesting to see how the community uses the grounds.  Many families were there to visit the final resting place of loves ones but others were there for an afternoon jog.  We even saw a family playing badminton in a parking lot.  I am sure that folks don’t hand out in cemeteries in your neighborhood.

One of  the media points we use with Reflections is that it’s a unique way to view history.  Looking at how a person was mourned in their lifetime can give you insight to what they meant in their own age.  We visited the grave of Salmon Chase, an honored advocacy of Abraham Lincoln.  It’s not hard to find a connection to Abe in a midwestern cemetery.  Just another connection we have to his legacy.

Bringing it Home

After working on the road for two years we finally had a chance last weekend to make a tour stop in the Twin Cities, a place we called home for the six years prior to taking this job.  Not only was this a our first opportunity to share the exhibit and explain our job better, but the show was a couple of block from the house we still own.  Josh and I were both looking forward to seeing everyone and having a nice visit. 

I was surprised at how many friends showed up, I think curiosity got them.  Our first night back we went to the happy hour after rugby practice to see the Pigs, they were going to a tournament in Iowa for the weekend.  A group of guys stopped by on their way to see the truck. 

Even Josh’s sister came down to see us and brought her boys.  I think they were more interested in the model truck we have displayed than us.  My wonderful sister in law even gave up most of her Mother’s Day so that we could have  a visit.  I have to say I am thankful, the fish chowder she made was divine!  Made me reminiscent of the biweekly dinners we used to have. 

One last very special visitor came to see us, WILLA, and her forever family Kieth and Gwen.  We have grown close over the year and a half they have had Willa.  She is still a spunky little girl and looked so good.  I mentioned Keith just a couple of days ago, he is the Navy Vet.  They are very special people in our lives but this was not their first time in our truck..  A year ago they were at a choir competition with one of their daughters just next door to our show in La Crosse, WI. 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I wanted to post this yesterday but a few snags came up.  We are back out on tour, glad to be so, however the wi-fi at our hotel was terrible and I spent all night trying to load files for work.  On top of that we were trapped on the interstate for 2 hours as an accident was being cleared.  Off to a tough start.  Before leaving we were able to catch a Detroit Tigers game, great to see that “home” team win.  I know these are kind of boring pictures but I really like my new lens!!!  Don’t fear there are more sailboat pics coming.

The Big Show

All those crazy hours and work in DC were well worth it when we pulled into our event location. We set up our truck just below the US Capitol building!!! The morning started at 4:00 AM for us, I’m not too pleasant that early, the truck needed to be in place for clearance. After being cleared by the bomb sniffing dog it was go time. Talk about pressure, this is a hot spot on the mall. I didn’t realize how amazing our location was for a few hours, tired and dark outside.

The day was spent greeting guests for all over the world, a true pleasure to share the museum with so many people. As you can see a number of Capitol Police came by too. By the end of the day we had a nice little group of friends. I am not sure there will ever be a day as existing and exhausting. This is why we love our job, doing things like this is amazing.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s 201st Birthday, Happy Birthday Abe. We celebrated with cookies here but the town of Danville, IL does more then that. Abraham spent a good chunk of time there and each year to honor their hometown hero a big party is held. Including cake, a card contest and this year our exhibit.

While campaigning Abraham gave a speech from this balcony.