When I ask second-grade visitors what history is, they typically say, "Something that happened a long time ago."
So I ask them to raise their hands if they think 100 years ago is history. Every hand shoots up.
What about 10 years ago? This time, most hands go up slowly.
What about today? Only a few raise their hands and the room buzzes with disagreement.
Second graders aren't the only ones who think of history museums as housing only items from a bygone era. When we did an exhibit on early suburban Edina, I heard one visitor say, "I thought I'd be dead before my childhood was considered history."
Twenty-first century history is not an oxymoron. Today's news is tomorrow's history, so historians pay close attention to the morning's headlines as well as centuries old texts.
Every morning, I search for Edina news and think about whether we should pursue collecting related items for our collection. One easy decision is when any Edina team goes to the state tournament, like the Edina Robotics FIRST Team 1816 did this year. They even made the cover of the Minnesota State High School League program.
I follow the team on Twitter and congratulated them for "making history." When I asked for a copy of the program, team representatives came in with all of this:
Here's a closer look at the programs. Edina's team is pictured in the green shirts (below right).
Let's not forget the hardware. They even brought in their medals for our collection. Awesome.
As I have found, it is easier to collect history as it happens than try to hunt things down decades later in people's basements, attics or garages. "Or dining rooms," added the coach, who has acquired quite a collection over almost a decade of team history.
The team might opt to house its entire collection at the historical society. Who knows? Someday when every home has its own robot maid (I'm picturing Rosie from the space age cartoon "The Jetsons"), researchers might investigate robotics from the early era of development.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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