Independently Strong, But Better Together

“There are a million things one might do with a block of wood. But Mahoney, what do you think might happen if someone, just once, believed in it?”-Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Magorium in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (as I shed tears with my mother rolling her eyes at me)

I would say that our project is a little more complex than a block of wood, but hey, for these purposes lets say its our block of wood.

One thing I will always value from this team is the capacity to work independently. Throughout this process we have communicated thoroughly over email and text to remind everyone of work that needs to be done as well as the progress of the work that we are completing, creating a very open atmosphere for all of us to work effectively yet at our own pace.

Following the comments from the guests at our dress rehearsal, however, it is now time to really make our stamp on this project a group. It is all of our block of wood.

Of the most helpful comments were those from both Dr. Daggar and Dr. McShane as well as Christine Iannicelli; and that is to take the opportunity to create a narrative. Though we all have our separate conversations and content that contributes to the project, there is still the question of “so what?” that looms over our Omeka page. Even the power of being able to transition between speakers in a presentation is hindered by the topic needing clear connection to modern concepts. After most of our guests had spoken with us, the most intriguing aspect of the presentation is the conversation which the group members began to have after talking with them.

Andy Prock gave invaluable suggestions about our aesthetics and metadata, which I certainly won’t fail to mention. But just as valuable was the conversation that he started with us about nuances in the Curtain Club that we no longer see today; most notably in the name itself. Soon after we began talking with Andy we talked more about the significance of labeling the club a “club” during the time it was created as opposed to now, and what the context of the club’s inception necessarily suggests for inclusivity of clubs both then and now. For each interesting but quick suggestion Andy had given we had about 10 more minutes of individual discussion and contemplation, which created a great yet cohesive atmosphere of discussion between group members that we hope to translate into our final product.

Going forward we are going to take advantage of these very helpful suggestions from our guests to tweak both the cohesiveness of our data as well as our presentation of information. For instance, while my primary focus is the significance of staffing on the identity of the club, dynamics such as race and demographic are incredibly relevant to social movements which is Joe’s area of expertise. Andy was also generous enough to give us detailed evaluations of our internal metadata, which we hope to heed and create a much clearer and cohesive organization of our content. My ultimate goal before our final presentation is to have a real discussion with my group mates about weaving a story that combines all of our passions and interests of this project in the hopes that we can make our audience just as intrigued as we are.

Forgive the cheesy movie reference, but as I watched the film over break with my family I contemplated the real wonder of a finished product (it was also helped by receiving a GroupMe message from Sophia in the middle of the movie). Joe, Sophia and I have all believed in this block of wood when creating this project, but the real magic is best revealed when we can get the audience to see much more than the block.


Film Referenced: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Directed by Zach Helm, performances by Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, Mandate Pictures, 2007.

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