I've been initiated into the ranks of public museum volunteership. That's not a real word, but I've decided I'll make it up. I began my weekly volunteering stint at the Neville Public Museum, Green Bay's public museum. It hosts a pretty decent permanent collection of Wisconsin history, both natural and anthropological. As a kid, I used to revel in the sight of the "ice cave," which is a sculpted entrance to the permanent exhibit that is meant to appear like an ice age cave. Go figure. It leads into a scene of a prehistoric man ready to strike an alarmingly-close woolly mammoth with a spear. The mammoth never fails to startle me when its motion-detected cry sounds out. Even now that I'm not a kid (or am I?), walking through a wigwam, petting beaver pelts, examining beaded moccasins, peering into a general store, oggling Victorian furniture and so on... it makes me very happy.
I love history. I love it. I suppose that's why my degree is in art history, but I've learned one thing about myself over the past few years: I like history. It's important. Very, very important. I find that, at the bookstore, when a customer proclaims (boldly, in my opinion) that they aren't interested in history, I have to bite my tongue and try to keep from crossing my eyes at them. Really? Not interested in history? How is that even possible?
Anyway. What I mean is that learning about history is fulfilling. Whether it's a basic timeline of wars or the significance of a finial carved onto the door frame of a New England saltbox home, there's no way to NOT feel better about having learned something. And needless to say, you may never have to know any of that information for practical reasons, but anything can be a conversation piece.
The museum, so far, seems SUPER RAD. I met a number of curators/administrators and one of the summer interns. As a volunteer, I seem to fall into a curious niche of "That's so cool that you're here helping out, but why are you here exactly?" which I find I'll probably have to explain numerous times. Does "I like museums" cut it? Considering I have no idea what my future holds, when one curator basically introduced himself to me as a person who loves sending reference letters, I had to smile. Who knows, if a future in grad school is for me, I might be in the right place...
On a separate note, since I had another piece of this bread breakfast, simply warmed up in the microwave, I have to share this amazing cornbread recipe, adapted from probably the most popular online cornbread recipe there is. The story is, I had buttermilk left over from my rhubarb cake the other day, so I needed to use it up. Luckily, I found this winner, and I'll share it exactly how I made it.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 farm fresh eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Bob's Red Mill organic medium-ground cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan or a 9 inch round cake pan.
2. In a small bowl, break eggs into a bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and baking soda.
3. Melt butter in a large skillet. Remove butter from heat and stir in the sugar. Add eggs and whisk until blended. Add buttermilk mixture and stir in with the mixture in pan. Stir in the cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and there are no large lumps. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.