When I step away from this blog for a while, coming back to it gets intimidating. Should I acknowledge my absence? When does an explanation become an excuse? One of my goals for myself in the coming months is to do a better job keeping up with the blog, rather than starting and abandoning posts each month. I want to get better at writing quickly, and the blog is a great space to work on that.
One of the things that’s kept me away is the job I started in August 2016 at the Tennessee Historical Society writing content for their new website. I’ve had a great time at THS, and really enjoyed getting to flex my historian muscles by digging through our collections at the Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee State Library and Archives to find interesting artifacts and documents, and of course writing content and blog posts on Tennessee history. That work will all be available on the THS website when and as it launches.
Despite, or maybe because of, the chaos of working 20 hours a week at THS while teaching three different classes, I also had my best semester teaching so far. I’m planning to write a post exploring this more, but it was one of those rare times when all of my classes had good chemistry and I managed to let go of my urge to control everything. I also had the stomach flu twice, so it was a semester of extremes.
As a result of my work at THS, I was able to get a really sweet teaching schedule this spring, with two sections of Tennessee History. It’s not something I would have imagined myself doing a year ago, but it’s been fun and challenging, and I’ve been bringing in lots of primary sources from my work at THS. I’ve had a much better schedule and more of a life this semester, which is part of the impetus for recommencing the blog.
The other part is that after a solid two years on the market, I have accepted an offer to become Assistant Professor of Public History at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. I’ll be moving to Grand Rapids in the fall, and I am incredibly excited about joining the history department and the university. I’ll continue to post about history and pop culture and things that catch my interest, but I also want to blog more about teaching public history and the process of building a relationship with the community there.
I can’t promise I won’t disappear again, but stay tuned, there’s lots of good stuff coming down the pike.