Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wishing You Good Things for the New Year

Coming March 2012
By Nell Pratt, from the Museum Mysteries by Sheila Connolly

Most people don't think about visiting museums during the holiday season, unless they have to entertain restless children on a long school break. But a library is not high on the list of child-friendly places, so usually we can count on some welcome peace and quiet.

I always heave a sigh of relief when we've finally sent out our holiday cards.  Yes, at the Society we still send out real cards. It may seem an old-fashioned tradition in these days of electronic everything, but many of our members and supporters are not young, and they appreciate a nice card. They especially appreciate a signed card, and one with a personal message—handwritten in ink. We try to find a picture from our collections (one year we almost goofed because the lovely winter scene of Center City in the 19th century included a dead horse in one corner, if you looked very closely, but we noticed it in time). We send cards to all of our members—that used to be my responsibility as director of development—but only the upper levels get the fancy ones signed by the Society president. That would be me now. The Society is lucky to have so many dedicated supporters in these difficult times, but I don't feel quite so lucky when I have to sign a few hundred cards and try to think of something meaningful and personalized to add to many of them.

But that chore is finished for this year, and now my staff and I can sit back, take a breath, and think about what we hope to accomplish in the coming year. Of course, if it's anything like this past year, there will be a lot of unexpected events, but I'm proud of how my staff has stepped up and carried on even under challenging circumstances. They're great people, mostly. I wish I could pay them all what they deserve, but luckily they're here for the love of history, not for the money.

And at the end of the day I can go home to my snug carriage house in the suburbs, light a fire in my small but working fireplace, and contemplate the tiny Christmas tree in the corner (please don't tell me I need to take it down already--I haven't had time to enjoy it yet!). Wonder if I'm going to hear from my favorite FBI agent…

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!


  1. I hope you get that visit from your favorite FBI agent and I look forward to reading "Fire Engine Dead."

  2. Good for you, Nell -- I think real Christmas cards with handwritten signatures are so important. For friends and volunteers! Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

  3. I hope you have time to enjoy that tree--with your favorite FBI agent!

  4. I'm looking forward to getting to know Special Agent James Morrison a LOT better in Fire Engine Dead!

  5. Oh dear! A dead horse! And there you are with all those beautiful old pictures from your collection. One does have to be careful.

    ~ Krista