Sunday, March 25, 2012

rear of building - landscapers at work
What a strange day this has been ... .

Our Visitors Center is nearing completion and we're in the process of designing temporary exhibits that will be on display over the coming months -- until the permanent exhibits are completed and installed.

The process of restoration of the historic Oil House of the old Ford Assembly Plant has taken more than a year to complete, but the grand opening is scheduled to take place on Memorial Day weekend, on May 26th.

We've not been able to enter while the structure was under re-construction, so along with the rest of our staff, I'm curious and fascinated with the occasional peeks I get walking by while conducting a tour of the scattered sites that make up the park.  The Ford Assembly Building is one of the major features of the park.

Several of us have been assigned the task of designing 6' "Pull-up" panels on different subjects -- that will be combined with appropriate and relevant exhibits borrowed from other parks around the country until those professionally-designed arrive around the end of the year.  Matt's panel has to do with the environment; Elizabeth's with the disabled; and mine (obviously) with civil rights.  There are others.  We're creating the texts and Luther, our graphics artist, is putting them into display form for presentation.  I'm pleased with the text I created, but have little sense of how the words will combine with the photos I've chosen until his expertise is applied.  This is a new experience for me, but seemed well within my abilities.  I'm continually surprised at those embedded capacities and only wished I'd had the courage to call on them before I'd grown into these final years.

All that is to say that -- I'm not sure of the reason -- but I seem to be seriously drained of energy today.  I conducted back-to-back bus tours over Friday and Saturday; unusual for me.  Each lasts about 3 hours and covers many of the scattered sites that form the boundary-less Rosie the Riveter WWII/ Home Front Historical National Park.  What is more important, though, is the fact that -- not being a trained historian working from acquired knowledge -- I'm reaching deep into my own past to retrieve personal history and sharing that with strangers on each tour.  It means that there is an emotional component that tends to leave me feeling spent for a few hours each time, so normally I try to allow a few days of recovery time between tours.  This, combined with the fact that I've had to conduct two of those tours in a drenching rainstorm which added an element of sadness to both tours, may have added to feelings of depression over the past 24 hours.  Wet feet will do it every time.

... but then maybe I'm just winding down now ... and am finally facing up to that fact... .

If the feelings linger, I'll know.