Sunday, September 9, 2007

Atlanta - The Final Half Day

Yes, my final day in Atlanta was really a half day. I attended the Military History Committee breakfast and two sessions before heading home around 12:30 in the afternoon. The breakfast resulted in a number of good conversations, including talking to the historian at a Seattle museum who is writing a book about a US Navy ship that was stationed there in the 1850s. I have two years left on this committee and will serve as the head of the Advocacy and Membership Subcommittee.

My first morning session was excellent, but disappointing at the same time. It was called "Civil Conversations: Seeking Common Ground on America's Civil War" led by former Chief Historian of the NPS Dwight Pitcaithley and Atlanta History Center Military Curator Gordon Jones. Also in the room were Rick Beard (Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum) and Barbara Franco (Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission), among others. As you can tell by the persons involved this had the potential to be a very stimulating discussion, and it was. However, it would have been a much different session had the other two scheduled guests actually shown up. The representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Sons of Confederate Veterans apparently chose not to show. I guess they figured they couldn't have a civil conversation after all. Nevertheless, the discussion was very lively and informative.

In retrospect, this is probably the best conference I've been to in my career. The panel I was involved with was very well received, the two sessions with David Blight were excellent, Cokie Roberts' keynote address was very good, and the session discussed above was the perfect ending to a great time. I got to connect and/or reconnect with colleagues and friends. It was definitely a growth experience and I've come back feeling recharged and invigorated. Now its time to get back to work!

No comments: