Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Getting close to showtime at the Cuyahoga County Fair

As I reported here on July 18th, CSU’s Cleveland Memory Project will be the centerpiece of the Cuyahoga County Fair, August 7th thru 13th. Here in the final week of preparation, we’re madly trying to solve problems, evaluate last-minute ideas and prepare the exhibit and other elements of the fair. Fortunately for us, public relations director Mike Rogers can accomplish almost anything at the last minute, FastSigns/Downtown’s Bernie and his crew are willing to work wonders creating the display posters and creative director Ron Newell is calmly (despite our frenzy) and competently translating the pile of material we deposited in front of him into one of those sterling displays he’s spent his life creating. The workhorse in all this has been Joanne Cornelius, the supervisor in the CSU Library’s Digital Production Unit, who’s kept all the balls in the air, no matter how many I’ve whimsically tossed her way. This is an amazing team and we are confident that the “Memories of Cleveland” display that results will be a credit to Dave Stephan and the Fair staff and to our financial backer, National City Bank.

The exhibit will be enhanced by several means of gathering memories from some of the 100,000 fair-goers who we anticipate visiting us next week. First, our library volunteers will be armed with small MP3 digital voice recorders, to record whatever stories are unlocked by visitors viewing the exhibit photos. We anticipate mounting some of these to the web, perhaps as podcasts for download from our new Fair Site. Second, the CSU History Department is conducting a series of sit-down oral history interviews with people with more involved and interesting stories. Third, all fair-goers will be invited to sign our Memories Book. Fourth, they will also be able to go home and enter stories into the MemoryArchive project on-line.

One other aspect of the “Memories of Cleveland” project is a digital photo contest currently underway on the Flickr photo sharing website. Perhaps the most ambitious and experimental way we’re trying to reach out technologically and involve other people, this contest is soliciting photos of Cleveland and the Fair from Flickr subscribers old and new. We have had some trouble designing this contest and launching it, so your chances of winning the digital camera grand prize are pretty decent.

We certainly invite you to come out to the fair next week and see all our timeless photos of Cleveland's past. Stop and say hello and perhaps share some memories.


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