The Association of Personal Historians’ annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri concluded on Sunday, October 21. The next day, more than 150 professional personal historians were wending their way back to corners of the Earth as far-flung as Australia and Denmark, their minds brimming with ideas and their hearts filled with the warmth of connecting with friends old and new.
Thanks to Conference Host Mary Harrison’s stellar work lining up local keynote speakers and entertainment, Event Planner Paula Yost’s excellence at negotiating a comfortable and affordable setting, and Conference Director Marianne Waller’s thoroughness and thoughtfulness in arranging the educational program and myriad other details, the St. Louis conference was an outstanding experience.
What made it outstanding for me in particular? Let me count the ways.
- The thought-provoking discussions of our board during its annual meeting. As the association’s president, I deeply appreciate the other 14 board members’ perspectives. The five new incoming board members who attended (two of them by Skype, a first for APH governance) have me excited as well.
- The in-depth learning I took away from a two-part workshop, “Oral History: One Topic, Many Voices,” led by Barbara Tabach and Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner. I’ll put their information and observations to use before the week is out. I was lucky this “just-in-time” learning coincided with a new community history project I’m involved in.
- And finally, dancing Saturday night away to the blues stylings of Ingrid Berry Clay and her band (who’s that other St. Louis entertainer with Berry in his name?) was the perfect way to shake out the jams after a long week of sitting in meetings, workshops, and plenary sessions. Whether you are 15 or 55, nothing beats taking to the dance floor with people you’re not afraid to cut loose with.
That’s what I most enjoyed about the St. Louis “Turning Points” conference. What about you?
~~~ APH: Life, Stories, People ~~~
Conference photos by APH member Brina Bolanz.