If you follow me on any of the social media platforms such as Twitter (@stefanitwyford) or Facebook, you’ll know that I spent the previous week at the 2009 Association of Personal Historians Conference in Valley Forge Pennsylvania.
Having never been to the Philadelphia area, I was particularly excited to be spending time at Valley Forge, the historic site of the American Revolution and birthplace of everything we now take for granted as being intrinsically American. I was not disappointed. For the most part, the weather was spectacular and I got in several hikes in the historic Valley Forge National Park where Continental Soldier barracks still exist and canons lay about the fields as if no afterthought was given to their disposal.
I also spent a day in downtown Philadelphia and took one of those double-decker bus tours of the historic sights with my friend CJ Madigan. We had a great time and learned a lot about Philadelphia as well. Unfortunately we chose to tour on a Monday and most of the museums were closed so I guess that will just give me a reason to visit again.
This is the second APH conference I have attended, the first was two years ago in Nashville TN, whose local persona is still steeped in the Civil War (you could see an American war theme here although next year’s conference will be held in Victoria, British Columbia so that ends any comparisons.) When I went to Nashville I was new to the organization and spent my time meeting people, finding out what they were up to, and seeing where our work fit in among the other members. Since that time, I have gotten more involved within the organization, serving on their education committee, providing support in upcoming website changes as well as creating a social media presence for the organization. I’ve gotten to know several of the members well through emails, phone calls, and list serve postings, so I was excited to be going there and sharing some time with them as well as making new friends.
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