What I do
I work collaboratively with exhibit design firms, museums, local businesses and major companies to develop and implement projects. Depending on your needs, I might write or edit text, develop exhibit concepts, draft interpretive plans, curate exhibits, lead brainstorming sessions, conduct research, develop interactive and video concepts, record oral history interviews, create furnishing plans for historic sites, or develop content for web sites.
History of technology and culture is my main focus, however I’ve worked in natural history, science, and the arts as well. Areas of expertise include automotive history, music, late 19th-and early 20th-century technology, and the history of Popular Mechanics. Yeah, Popular Mechanics. You got a problem with that?
How is it that so many great exhibits get their start on cocktail napkins and are later developed in windowless rooms with bad lighting? I’m not sure, but I’m glad I don’t take many photos during that phase. Exhibit development encompasses everything from the cocktail napkin to the opening party. Often my clients need someone … Continue reading Exhibit Development
An interpretive plan is often the first step in developing a major exhibition, museum, or historic site: a roadmap to ensure that the project will fulfill the organization’s mission and be relevant to visitors. It’s not an easy process and can be time-consuming, but it’s always worthwhile. Usually developed by a team of people who have a stake in … Continue reading Interpretive Planning
Whether writing for exhibits, websites, books, videos, interactives, or magazines, I adjust my writing style to fit the requirements of the medium, meet the needs of the audience, and reflect the character of the client. I started my writing career in 1991 when the editor of Popular Mechanics, Joe Oldham, asked me to write a history … Continue reading Writing
You know you’re a little odd if you get excited looking at tax and probate records. OK, “excited” might be a slight exaggeration, but there’s a real sense of victory when you finally solve that niggling historical puzzle. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everything is on the internet machine. Yet. Most of … Continue reading Research
If you’re looking for someone to furnish a Victorian home or a Colonial estate, I’m not your gal. I don’t really know the subtleties of high-end furniture and which fork goes where. But if you need planning, procurement, and installation of a complex interior such as a general store or a pharmacy, I can help. My … Continue reading Furnishings Plans
Areas of Expertise
My real expertise is learning new subjects quickly and distilling their essence. But if you want to know what subject matter knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years, this is a partial list in no particular order: Automotive history—especially the Model T and Ford Motor Company, brass era, NASCAR, and the King Midget (if you have … Continue reading Areas of Expertise