What’s It Like […] in Morrison County?

The Morrison County Historical Society (MCHS) has launched a new project called “What’s It Like […] in Morrison County, Minnesota?” The goal of the project is to collect a minimum of 100 mini memoirs from current and former Morrison County residents, using the question, “What’s It Like […] in Morrison County?” as the jumping off point.

In order to focus the essays, writers are to insert a topic of their choice into the brackets. Writers can pick topics on identity issues, careers, hobbies, and life tasks. For example, an essay could be written on what it’s like to be Jewish in Morrison County, or what it’s like to can pickles in Morrison County, or what it’s like to be a plumber in Morrison County.

MCHS is looking for essays of between 200 and 1,000 words. Essays will be posted on the “What’s It Like […] in Morrison County, Minnesota?” blog at http://morrisoncountyhistory.org/whatsitlike/ and will be kept on file at The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum.

The “What’s It Like” website contains a full project description, including Writer’s Guidelines. As the purpose of the project is to collect history, writers should not let the mechanics of writing hold them back. MCHS staff will assist in editing submitted essays, if needed.

MCHS would like to hear from writers of all ages. Local teachers are encouraged to have their students participate in the project. (Essays written by minors will not have full names attached to them when posted online. Adult writers can choose to remain anonymous or use their initials.)

For more information, contact us at 320-632-4007 or see the “What’s It Like” website.

2 Replies to “What’s It Like […] in Morrison County?”

  1. What a great idea! We are in the process of generating a Pope County 150 list (similar to the MN 150 list done by MNHS) for our sesquicentennial in 2016. But would love to work on a project like this next. The snapshots of life are so important. Imagine if we had essays about how to make a phone call in 1915, or on making dinner in 1942. The things we see as ordinary and everyday will someday be long past.
    Can we borrow / steal your idea and do a similar project here in Pope County?

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Ann! We did our own list of 150 for our sesquicentennial in 2006. Our list was of 150 influential people in Morrison County history. We released the names 5 at a time on our blog each week throughout that year. After the year ended, we compiled the names into one big list, Morrison County Influentials, which can be found on the History section of the website.

    I’m not sure the board would like it if I said, “Sure, steal the idea,” but I’ve noticed that many of us in local history tend to cycle through the same sorts of topics and projects. You can certainly use our project as a model to do something similar in Pope County. History is history and if there’s an effective way to collect it, we’ve got to use it.

    A caveat: We don’t quite know how “What’s It Like?” is going to work yet, because there are plenty of hurdles in convincing people to write. I’ve found that it’s best to give clear parameters to a project – hence the word limit, the project title that doubles as a writing prompt, and the number of mini memoirs we’ve set as a goal. We’ll see if those work or if there’s something else we need to do to encourage people to submit essays to the project. When you get to your own project, let us know how it goes.

    -Mary Warner

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