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My very first voting experience was a memorable one because I turned 18 on a presidential election day and got to cast my vote on my birthday! I still remember carefully filling in each bubble on the ballot and proudly displaying my “I voted” sticker. I come from a long line of volunteer poll workers, including my father, my aunt and especially my grandmother. She was the daughter of Czechoslovakian immigrants who was born in August of 1920, days before the 19th amendment would be ratified by two thirds of the state legislatures and put into practice. She helped people complete their civic duty in her small town in Pennsylvania, fully understanding how important it was for everyone to use their own voice at each election. I haven’t missed an election since I became eligible, and I think often about the women who fought for this fundamental right.

My grandfather was a magnificent gardener. He had an arbor that dripped with wisteria, under which I would enjoy delicious summer snacks and lemonade. His expansive vegetable garden and orchard ensured my grandmother was very busy during canning and jamming season. I have many fond memories of time spent there and often visited when I needed a quiet space to pause and reflect on some pressing issue. Consequently, I love gardens, not only because they remind me of my childhood and calm my senses, but also because I envy the talent of gardeners.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how I will decorate for the holidays, ruminating over which place settings to choose, and debating what colors I’ll use for the tree. It was during a recent walk through the formal gardens here at Morven Park that I found all the inspiration I needed!

School is back in session and the Morven Park Center for Civic Impact (MPCCI) education team is eager to be back in the classroom, honoring the civic engagement legacy of Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis by providing free civics lessons that demonstrate the impact one individual can have on his/her community.

In addition to the classroom supplies found on a typical back-to-school list, Morven Park’s list contains some rather unusual items.

For many people, “Polo” brings to mind Ralph Lauren ads featuring a beautiful Argentine man (by the way, his name is Nacho Figueras and, yes, he really does play the sport). Or, it’s a preppy shirt that stirs debate regarding whether or not the wearer should pop the collar (the answer is no, unless you have the chutzpa of Katherine Hepburn). For some of us, however, polo is an exciting sport! If you would like to join this special group, I have put together a little primer so you will be the smartest person on the picnic blanket at Polo in the Park.

Thanks to Indiana Jones and other fictional characters, the term archaeology often conjures images of archaeologists bravely entering dusty tombs full of traps and cursed artifacts. The goal of these daring figures is usually to secure priceless treasures that—in the wrong hands—could lead to the downfall of civilization, or “To acquire archaeological fame and fortune!” as stated in the movie Curious George. Real archaeology isn’t quite as dangerous as it is depicted in the movies (although poison ivy and ticks are not pleasant), but the thrill of discovery and the expansion of knowledge is always exciting.

Surrounding Morven Park’s historic mansion is a landscape full of clues about the people who previously occupied the property. Archaeology, which is the study of past human culture through material remains, is one of the key methodologies used to understand these clues at Morven Park.

I love planning events almost as much as I love going to them (far less work), and I can confidently tell you that everyone needs an occasional reminder of what it means to be a good guest. Few people seem to care or realize that being a good guest is as much an art form as being a good host or hostess.

“Prepare to get schooled, LCPS!” I don’t think we realized the truth of this social media warning to the schools way back on the first day of the 2018-19 school year. The Morven Park Center for Civic Impact (MPCCI) team is always very optimistic and excited about the number of students we will reach, how our program will operate, and our adaptability in facing inevitable challenges, but this school year was unlike any other we’ve experienced!

The 2019 Historic House Summit: Sustainability, Governance and Relevance in the Environment, hosted by Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and the American Alliance of Museums, brought together approximately 50 participants from around the world who all felt that our institutions have a responsibility to be responsible stewards of not just the land and constituents we work with directly, but to respond to climate change and remain relevant, trusted educational organizations for our communities and beyond.

In this blog, Jackie Ly, Morven Park's Museum Engagement Manager reflects on some of her takeaways from the conference and highlights her presentation on avoiding workplace burnout.