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A Fresh Perspective

Eloise in FerrariLast week I had the honor of joining President and CEO John Herbst and Vice President of Development Andrew Halter on their annual trip to Florida to meet with our members that are lucky enough to winter in the Sunshine State. What a wonderful opportunity to not only attend some incredible events, but also to spend time talking with members about the exhibitions they have visited, upcoming projects they look forward to, and potential stories they would like to see us cover in the future. Day-to-day job responsibilities can prevent us from sometimes taking the time to get out and talk with people about the thing we all have in common ... our love of history.

We spent three nights in Florida and hosted receptions in three towns during our trip. The first night’s reception was at the home of IHS Trustee Mag Russell and her husband, Steve, in Naples, where we were welcomed as houseguests and invited to speak about the work of the Indiana Historical Society in a setting that screamed history ... between the old world mantelpiece, the Italian fresco ceiling and the objects that once spent time in Cole Porter’s Parisian apartment. The next night we traveled to the Sanibel Island home of longtime members and soon-to-be-Living Legends, former IHS Trustee Dr. George Rapp and his wife, Peggy, where I spoke about the You Are There exhibition program standing on a balcony with a backdrop of ocean waves. And lastly, we were guests in the Boca Grande home of Will and Cotton Hanley, where I had the honor of talking about our You Are There 1955: Ending Polio experience and the upcoming You Are There 1913: A City Under Water project with people who connected to the stories on a personal level in a myriad of ways.

I learned so much during my trip. About our members, about the incredibly hard but rewarding work of our Development and Membership staff, and about how proud I am of the You Are There series and the Indiana Historical Society. I also learned that one can take a vial of fake polio vaccine on an airplane, as long as it travels in checked luggage. A useful tidbit among of week filled with new perspective, appreciation and experience.


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