On Sabbatical from July 1-Dec. 31, 2007 researching Michigan circuses and carnivals. Successfully applied for and received nearly $5,000 in research funding. Sabbatical Outcomes:
Michigan Circus History:
Editing my book manuscript, From tent to tent: circus history in the Great Lakes States, for publication by Michigan State University (MSU) Press.
Presented a national level, referred paper about my circus research, “Documenting American Circuses and Carnivals: an Archivist’s Perspective”, at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Conference in San Francisco, August 30, 2008.
My Circus Exhibit:
My 2010 circus exhibit entitled “Rides and spangles: MI circuses and carnivals” was completely my project, conceptually, creatively, totally. MAC3 TV and WCMU TV filmed the exhibit, myself, and other speakers. WCMUTV filmed interviews and parts of the exhibit to advertise the exhibit, but later decided not develop it into a show. (Exhibit online at https://www.cmich.edu/library/Clarke/ResearchResources/Michigan_Material_Statewide/Circuses_and_Carnivals/Pages/default.aspx)
My exhibit directly impacted and helped generate a local youth fundraiser with a circus theme.
• My exhibit directly impacted and helped generate a local youth fundraiser with a circus theme with loans from my exhibit (Waterford Coalition for Youth, Waterford Coalition for Youth, Jan. 2010).
My exhibit directly impacted and helped generate two other Michigan exhibits:
Pasqua Warstler, the Visual Arts and Education Director, Bonifas Art Center, Escanaba, consulted with me and I loaned her materials to create a Skerbecks exhibit, April 2010.
Unrefereed presentations about my circus research:
I encouraged the Stanton family who helped create the “Under the Big Top” Exhibit based on their uncles’ local Lewis Bros. Circus, April 12-Sept. 7, 2013 at Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson. May 18, 2013: I was invited as a paid guest speaker.
June 8, 2010: I was invited to speak and spoke at the June 8, 2010 meeting of the Clare County
Arts Council in Clare. My presentation was entitled, “Documenting American Circuses and
Carnivals: An Archivist’s Perspective.” 20 people attended the presentation, only 4 of whom
had attended previous Clarke events, expanding our audience. This was an informal presentation.
June 24, 2010: I was invited to speak and spoke as the guest speaker for the Carnival Historical Society and Model Building Conference in Muskegon. This conference is part of the OABA, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the professional organization of the outdoor amusement and entertainment business. My paper was entitled, “The Papers of John C. Pollie: Michigan circus, carnival and vaudeville echoes from the vault.”
June 26, 2012: Iw as invited writer of a Look Blog entry on Michigan circus history for the State Archives.
Donations to the Clarke directly resulting from my research and exhibit:
2010: I convinced Ray Genter, a retired carnival company owner and major collector, to donate some of his extensive collection of circus/carnival posters and memorabilia to the Clarke, focusing on Michigan posters. His Collection, 1955, 2010 totals 4 cu.ft. (in 8 boxes, 1 Ov. folder).
July 2011: I convinced historian John Polacheck to donate his Rev. Fr. James Challancin circus collection, 1904, 2011 (13.5 cu.ft. (in 16 boxes, 12 Ov. folders). Fr. Challancin traveled with circuses to provide spiritual support and sacraments to the performers and staff. This is a rare collection documenting a religious leader in the traveling entertainment business.
Wikipedia citations: My circus/carnival material on the Clarke webpage was cited by other people in two Wikipedia articles: Isaac A. Van Amburgh, who developed the first trained animal act, and Rose Flanders Bascom, first American woman lion tamer. I consider a positive, unexpected way to expand awareness of the Clarke. (See Appendix 21 for citation information.)