To all of Indiana’s local history organizations, I send greetings! I’m Alan Rowe, coordinator, Local History Partners in Local History Services. Since starting in February, I have had ample time to reflect on my past in museums and my new responsibilities here at the Indiana Historical Society. My personal journey with local history started with childhood visits to The History Center in Fort Wayne’s old city hall and many of Indiana’s historic sites and museums. I see my current duties as a way to give back to the people, organizations and places that helped to shape who I am today.
So where have I been all of these years? After graduating from Ball State University in 1995, I moved to West Virginia to attend the public history master’s degree program at West Virginia University. With my degree in hand, I stayed in the mountains for a few years and worked as a historical interpreter at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Cass, W. Va., and later Historic Rugby in Rugby, Tenn. In 1999, I moved back to West Virginia to work in the historic preservation office as a historian in the National Register of Historic Places program area. Museums were still my first love, however, so I went back to college, earned a master’s degree in museum studies, and found my home as a curator at Hanford Mills, a small museum located in upstate New York.
Since returning to Indiana and joining the LHS staff, I have had the privilege of coordinating the Local History Partners program, an effort funded in part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Part of my duties include assisting the state’s local history organizations as they go about the vital work of caring for the objects, photographs and documents in their collections. Collections care training visits have been a great way for me to connect with the people who truly are on the front lines of protecting and preserving our local heritage. I also work with our new peer-to-peer assessment program, which is an effort to bring two local history organizations together with LHS staff to talk over their common opportunities and challenges with the goal of setting a few manageable priorities for the next two or three years.
If you work with or represent a local history organization, I encourage you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can discuss your collections care questions or to talk about how you can participate in the peer-to-peer program.
It’s great to be back home again in Indiana, and I look forward to meeting and working with the people who make our local history organizations possible.
|Alan Rowe is the coordinator of the Local History Partners program for the Local History Services department at IHS. As a museum and historic building nut, he gets to indulge his passion for exploring the attics, basements and other out-of-the-way spots in historic buildings while working with Indiana’s local history organizations as they care for their collections and plan for their future.