Weekend Work 3-4-13: Our Liebster Award – Paying It Forward

the-liebster-awardAs our reader knows, a few weeks ago Pooja Gupta, over at The Inside Poison, nominated Peabody”s Lament for the Liebster Award. The award is bestowed by bloggers on other bloggers for the sole purpose of saying I like your work and I think others should see it too. We remain amazed and thankful for her nomination.

Here’s how the Liebster Award works:

– Liebster means you love some fellow blogger’s work and want to appreciate it by this gesture.
– You have to post 11 things about yourself, after you get the nominations.
– You have to answer 11 questions, asked by the blogger who nominated you.
– You have to nominate 11 other bloggers having less than 200 followers, like you were nominated.
– Notify your nominations candidates by commenting on their blogs.
– Post Liebster’s picture on your post as a gesture of acceptance.

With that said, here we go…

11 Things About Me

1) Like many of you, I am a figment of my own imagination.
2) I especially love staff, committee, and board meetings. If they’re not inspiring some new post for the AHS they give me time to work on them while I sit there.
3) The museum field is going through a mid-life crisis right now and the AHS is my humble attempt to keep it from piercing its ear, buying a sports car, and chasing young girls. Evidently I see the museum field as a 50-year-old man.
4) I’ve been collecting history and museum humor for my entire career. In fact, the AHS is the digital offspring of an office door I pasted history-related cartoons all over.
5) I don’t get any mail. Fan or hate.
6) I’ve noticed that museum people think of me as a reenactor and reenactors think of me as a museum person (and, as we’ve seen, that’s not a compliment).
 7) Directing & curating the AHS has helped me sort out what I want, need, and believe about working in history museums. Turns out, it’s not what I thought I believed before I started all this. And before you ask, the only thing I would change is that I would have founded the AHS much sooner.
8) My hero is Francis Grose. I think he would’ve been fun in the archive and the tavern.
9) I’m an extra medium and my favorite color is plaid.
10) I love this quote from the movie The Third Man: “in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” I believe that, if given the choice, too many museum professionals want to be Swiss.
11) I am inordinately amused that this blog went to 11 on Pooja Gupta’s list.
Pooja Gupta’s 11 Questions

1) Atheist or Theist? And why? I worship Clio, goddess of history, because she offers me a job. So, theist.

2) Explain your reasons as to why doesn’t these two worlds, mythology and science go together? (You can be as much as creative you want) Hehe. Ah, but they do go together. Both try to explain the universe. The difference is one relies on invisible forces and the other relies on immortal gods.

3) If you were immortal inside of a supernatural being, which being would you want to be? Hermes, the trickster god of the Greeks.

Hermes K11.11Hermes

The ankle wings allow for quicker post-joke escapes.

4) Your beliefs on ‘reverse racism’? It exists, or Dave Chappelle wouldn’t have a career and the AHS would have less to collect.

5) Are you a feminist? If yes/no, why? If by feminist you mean do I believe in equality, then yes. I believe we’re all equally daft.

6) According to you, what exactly is being legit? No idea. I had to look up the Urban Dictionary’s definition.

7) How did you find the spark of writing in you? I had to write because I can’t draw, paint, sculpt, compose, or act, but I can spell (usually). Also see #3 of my “about me” list above.

8) How did you decide of finally making a blog? Our premier post pretty well sums up our inspiration (see here). Plus blogging is free of charge AND board oversight.

9) Name a place where you haven’t visited yet but you wished to all your life? And, why? Merrymount, MA, about 1627. The town was established by non-Puritan settlers who fundamentally disagreed with the Pilgrims over what constituted “fun.”


Because just by existing, the town annoyed the Pilgrims.

10) If water was poison, how would you substitute it? Hard cider (beer requires water)

11) What’s your favorite car? (I’m an automobile person. So.. yeah.) If not car, what’s the closest thing to you in all of this whole wide world and why?

My 11 Blog Nominations












My 11 Questions For the Nominees

NB: These questions seem focused on history, but I tend to think that anyone who pursues history (historians, reenactors, museum professionals, buffs, etc) is a history person. As a good museum person I’m trying to be inclusive here.

1) Why do you study and present the past (you can say for the money, but we know better)?

2) It has been suggested that one of the easiest ways to navigate daily life is to make certain you don’t talk about money, religion, or politics. Then why are they all history people seem to talk about?

3) Is Clio (history) to be a muse or just amusing (actually this question is from Thomas Schlereth’s Artifacts and the American Past)?

4) What do you think it takes to create valid history (for example, an interest in critical reading, an academic degree, the ability to breathe)?

5) As I mentioned above I don’t get a lot of mail from my readers. Do you feel like you do? Do you feel as though you’re connecting to your audience? Does that matter to you?

6) As the American Hysterical Society’s collections demonstrates, there is a lot of American history humor related to Whites, Blacks, and Natives. Why do you think there is so little, if any, humor about Asians, South Asian Indians, and Hispanics in American history?

7) Should they be forced to remove the word history from the name History Channel?

8) As we are fond of saying here at the AHS, history doesn’t sell. Do you think there is a business of history? Is it lucrative?

9) Do you believe folk art is its own form of art, separate from academic art? Did you not read our previous post about this? How come?

10) When we say it’s important to know history, which history should we mean (political, social, economic, art, etc)? Why?

11) Who is your favorite member of Spinal Tap?


So there it is. Our thanks, self-incriminations, answers, nominations, and questions. Now we wait and see who responds…


About T.H. Gray

T.H. Gray is the self-appointed court jester and Dr. Demento for the history museum field. A lifelong museum professional and reenactor, he is a graduate of the prestigious Peale-Barnum Public History Museum Studies Program. Until 2011, when the AHS hired him away, he was on staff at the Benjamin Dover Memorial Museum & Swimming Pool ("Our History is All Wet!"). He remembers when museums were still about history, science, and art. BTW, all of these posts say they are by T.H. Gray because he can't turn off the byline. Credit, when due, is given. View all posts by T.H. Gray

10 responses to “Weekend Work 3-4-13: Our Liebster Award – Paying It Forward

  • tracyloveshistory

    Thanks for the nomination. Much appreciated. I don’t generally write nomination posts but I really liked your questions and the time taken, so I’ll respond to them here. It’s almost like fan mail!

    1) Partly because I wanted to get to know my own family who mostly died untimely and insalubrious deaths. Mad as they were, I want to make them immortal through my “memory” of them. To create memories about people of whom I have none, really, is quite a tall order, so I need History to lend my fairy tales credibility. Partly because

  • tracyloveshistory

    I hit enter too soon…much too soon!

    …Partly because I like to dress up and again one must be mindful of the details. And partly because I simply can’t believe that there are people in the world who think history isn’t cool.

    2) I try to talk about my dogs and my children more than I talk about politics, religion and money. Sometimes I think people are quietly begging me to get back on the ol’ bandwagon.

    3) I come from South Africa. Our history is never amusing. Unless you count the time right-wing leader Eugene Terblanche fell off his horse at a ‘white is right’ rally.

    4) My history is entirely personal, so while I am deeply grateful to the academics who do all the work which allows me weave stories around my people, for me it’s about understanding why my great grandpa came back from WW1 with a 20-a-day smoking habit.

    5) The more personal my blog has become, the more engagement there’s been.

    6) It’s a free for all here in South Africa.

    7) History is just not punchy enough unless you’ve got somebody screaming it at you over the sound of explosions and gunfire in an accent strong enough to require subtitles.

    8) I write up family histories in sweeping narratives at least 100 pages long. It is not lucrative.

    9) I think my son’s clay Viking alien dinosaur is art.

    10) I think being a storyteller is important. I’m sure Keynes told wonderful stories about economics and I’m sure they fill my banker brother-in-law’s heart with joy. Duchamp tells my artist friends stories of rebellion. Mary Tudor’s story of abandonment and loneliness is for me far more interesting than the socio-political implications of her being the first Queen of England. My gender activist friends would disagree. It’s the story that’s important to me because nobody really listens to their parents and the ideas that we’re better people for studying history in order not to make the same mistakes is just laughable.

    11) I want to answer Ella Fitzgerald to this question instead of the guy with a pornstache but, okay, the guy with the pornstache.

    Thanks again.

    • T.H. Gray


      It’s not almost like fan mail, it IS fan mail. Thanks so much for playing along. I completely understand about not filling these things out. I don’t either, usually, but this time it seemed like an interesting way to say more about the AHS and what I think I’m doing. If you see what that is, do let me know.

      Your responses are fantastic (even if you did choose Derek Smalls).

      Thanks for sharing.


  • Pooja Gupta

    Heyy. I just saw this post, sorry if I was too late. Just that, exams are already on my head and so I don’t get time for anything. Sigh, yeah everyone’s story it is. Anyways, coming back to the post, Can I send you a hate mail? Haha, joking. No. You know I am your fan already. I don’t get any mails either, fan or hate. 0_0 Oh and by the way, #11 of your about me section is a compliment right? The number you mentioned there contradicted on my head actually, so is it? I hope it is. Haha. Thanks for replying. Take care.

  • T.H. Gray

    Thanks again for nominating us. I had a lot of fun putting this together.

    As for the number 11 comments (I came in at #11 on your list), it’s less a compliment and more a coincidence. The whole 11 thing is part of a famous joke from the movie Spinal Tap. You can see it here

    It amuses me no end.



  • Patrick Browne

    Many thanks for the nomination! Much appreciated. I’ve just posted answers to your questions on my page. Again, really appreciate being included in your list.

    • T.H. Gray


      First, You’re most welcome. Obviously, I think you deserve it. Thanks for playing along. I was fascinated by your answers to both sets of (vastly different) questions (two awards at once? I’m a little envious). You’re answers to my questions were particularly interesting to me, especially since you, as I do, walk in two worlds (museums & reenacting). I have to say I agree with you about battles – I prefer to reenact everything but them (though I do enjoy drilling), which means most reenactors have no idea what to make of me.

      One more question for you: when you were at Cashel, did they tell you the story of the non-traditional ceremony by which Patrick baptized Cormac? If not, you can find it here http://www.angelfire.com/de/ciarnat/ireland7.html.
      Thanks again.


  • Shortshanks

    Thank you for the nomination. I’d like to thank my friends, family, Jesus and the good folks at Bargain Booze for all their support and encouragement over the years. I’d also like to thank the AHS for their Liebster-shaped high five and apologise for taking so long to respond. Sorry to leave you hanging guys.

    I hope you’ll also continue to indulge me by allowing to answer your questions here.

    1. A lonely impulse of delight.

    2. Because if you take those three factors out of the equation then it becomes almost impossible to explain the last 200,000 years of human history.

    3. She can be both. The best history is that which manages to combine intellectual rigour with an entertaining and accessible writing style.

    4. Factual accuracy, objectivity and enthusiasm do it for me every time.

    5. It’s all about quality and not quantity!

    6. I’d assume it has something to do with the fact that the big waves of Asian and Hispanic migration are still relatively recent. Give it time.

    7. Their history programme are so terrible that I think I’d rather watch another series of ‘Ice Road Axemen Who Pawn UFOs’.

    8. History is the most profitable genre of nonfiction literature here in the UK. That said, I’m not making a penny out of it!

    9. Sure. Why not run everything up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

    10. I honestly think that you can divide history up into different silos. I guess one of the things that I try to do with my blog is to use the history of a particular form of art as a medium to write about the politics, economics and society in the eighteenth century.

    11. Viv Savage deserves recognition for extolling us all to “Have a good time, all the time”

  • museumsaskew

    Aw, you like me! You really like me! That is all kinds of awesome and I feel super flattered – thanks for the kudos. One the in-laws have left the building I’ll join in the fun.

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