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While You Were Gone

Published on Friday, January 20, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
As you all know, we close to the public in January and August, the two months that feature our worst weather and our lowest attendance. A few years ago when we analyzed the cost of staying open to the public versus how much revenue we generated during those months, it was clear that we were losing money being one of the only outdoor museums in the country that operated twelve months a year. So, we now close to the public during those two months. But that does not mean that we are all in hibernation. Our administrative, education, and curatorial staff and our maintenance contractors continue normal working hours. We always have post-Candlelight chores, like putting away the decorations and stowing the candles and stanchions. Of course, work on Gone To Texas really picks  ..

How the Dallas History Conference got its start

Published on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
Dallas has a rich history. Perhaps surprisingly for a relatively young city, it also has quite a few historical organizations devoted to preserving aspects of that history. In 1998, when Gary Smith, President and Executive Director of Dallas Heritage Village, suggested to me the idea of organizing a conference devoted to local history, I was immediately intrigued. Our semi-annual regional history journal, Legacies, had thrived for nearly ten years, partly because it was a collaborative effort among several historical groups. These and other similar groups might find a conference a perfect project through which to promote local history. Gary and I contacted staff members at five other historical organizations, all of whom were enthusiastic about the idea. The Executive Di ..

all-our-thanks

Published on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 By Melissa Prycer
Candlelight 2011 wrapped up over three weeks ago, but we’re still on a bit of a high from a truly great weekend. The weather was beautiful, lots of fabulous people came to see us (and hopefully you were one of them!), and everything just seemed to work. Plus, it was fun to celebrate 40 years of tradition. During that very hectic week, I caught myself thinking about all of the people that make that event possible. Part of the reason Candlelight has continued for 40 years is that it’s never been solely a staff-driven event; it’s fueled by our larger community. Though we work with some of these groups throughout the year, everyone comes together at once for Candlelight. And it’s pretty magical. So, in no particular order (and with an almost ..

Mustering our troops

Published on Friday, November 04, 2011 By Melissa Prycer
Even though every day is different around here (should I mention I had to help catch an escaped rooster yesterday?), it’s still possible to fall into ruts. A museum educator’s creativity can only go so far before it fizzles. We have a series of recurring events at DHV, and when you start entering into that era of planning the same event 7 or 8 times, well, the ideas for fun and creative learning opportunities start to fade. One event I’ve always struggled with is Civil War on the Home Front. Confession time: even though I am a self-proclaimed history nerd, I’ve never gotten really excited about the Civil War. I’ve always been more attracted to lesser-known stories, and most people at least know the basics of the War Between the States. But v ..

Remembering 40 Years of Candlelight

Published on Friday, October 28, 2011 By Melissa Prycer
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time living in the 70s and 80s. The 1970s and 1980s. And for once, that’s not a painful typo sometimes made by history museums—nope, I’ve been looking at our recent past. (/images/postimages/clnd_307_1.gif) This year marks the 40th Candlelight. Round numbers tend to excite us history types. It’s not often that we take the time to reflect on our institutional history, and it’s even rarer for one single event to last so long. So, we’re having some fun with it—we’ve ordered a special anniversary ornament (featuring Nip and Tuck), Barbara is making special anniversary clothespin dolls, and we’re putting together an exhibit called Candlelight Memor ..

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