You are what you keep

You've probably been told that you are what you eat.

If you're a historian, you are what you keep. Everything you keep or throw away tells a story about you.
  • For example, you might have noticed that I keep several outdated still and movie cameras on a shelf above my desk. They're so old they use film  What does that tell you about me?
  • There are also two very squashed flowers in a frame above my desk. When you see that, what can you learn about me?
  • I have a broken cuckoo clock in a box at home. It's probably cheaper to buy a new clock than to fix this old one. Why do I keep the old one?
  • My grandmother, who got married during the Second World War seemed unable to throw away the spare buttons that you get with coats, shirts and sweaters. When my mother cleaned out her apartment there were buttons for clothes that my grandmother hadn't had in years, or even decades. Why would an orderly, tidy person hoard buttons?

Assignment

For this activity you are going to take one man-made object from your home, preferably something old, and tell us what it says about you and/or your family.
  1. You are going to photograph your object so that we can all see what it looks like.
  2. You are going to tell the story of the object in a couple of paragraphs.
    • Describe the object.
      • What does it look like?
      • What is it made of?
    • Where did it come from?
    • How long have you or your family had it?
    • Where did you get it?
    • Why do you keep it?
    • Why does it matter to you and what does it reveal about you or your family's story?
  3. You are going to print out the page of information about your object and we'll post it on the wall.

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James Dykstra,
Mar 19, 2018, 6:21 AM
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