Park City Museum welcomes ‘Apron Chronicles’ curator
November 1, 2016
Anything can inspire someone to tell a story: even aprons.
That's what EllynAnne Geisel, curator of "The Apron Chronicles" exhibit, currently on display at the Park City Museum, wants people to know.
Geisel will be in Park City this week to host two presentations at the museum to illustrate this idea.
The first presentation, "Celebration of the Apron," will be Nov. 3. The second, "Writing Your Memories" workshop, will be Nov. 4.
Geisel said both events are open to the public.
"The first will be my platform presentation in which I bring along from my vast collection of aprons and some associated minutiae of what goes along with them," she said during a phone call to The Park Record. "These items will illustrate my journey from when I first purchased an apron to when I wrote an article about the apron's symbol of what I did as a homemaker for 20 years of my life."
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The presentation with cover how Geisel became fascinated with aprons.
"I'll talk about why I became fascinated and how, all of these years later, I have not lost any of the joy of sharing my aprons and the exhibit."
That journey started in 1999.
"When my youngest went off to college, I had thought about what I was going to do for the rest of my life," Geisel said. "I had been a stay-at-home mom and homemaker for 26 years of my life."
Although she enjoyed writing, Geisel mostly wrote for herself in journals.
"One day I decided to write a piece about the apron because it symbolized what I had done for several years of my life," she said. "The problem was I didn't own an apron for all of those years. I just wiped my hands on my clothes."
So, she went on a quest to find an apron.
"Back then, they were really hard to find," Geisel said with a laugh.
When she did find one, Geisel felt an energy emitting from it.
"That led me to consider that the spirit and voice of the woman who wore the apron as part of her domestic armor was woven into the fabric," she said. "That, in turn, set me on a four-year apron journey where I took a basket of vintage aprons that I had purchased or found to every place I went — grocery stores, other cities."
The basket drew people to Geisel.
"Everyone who saw me or heard about me would gasp and tell me that an apron I had either reminded them of someone or that someone they knew had the same apron," she said. "Then they would tell me their stories."
Geisel wrote down these stories, not knowing what she would do with them.
"In the fifth year, the stories turned into the exhibit," she said. "The next year, the stories turned into a book."
The book, "The Apron Book: Making, Wearing and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort," is about aprons and gets to the core of what we as humans love about the people who wore or wears them, Geisel said.
The second presentation is a workshop designed to help participants write their own stories based on their memories.
It's based on Geisel's submissions for the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.
"What I learned by writing for them is to keep things short," she said with a laugh. "Keep things colorful and don't assume that you need to put in every adjective and adverb."
Geisel writes in a simple, active style because she knows her stories will be read by younger family members or friends.
"From my own experience from interactions with my own children, there is less attention for reading longer pieces," she said with another chuckle. "That's what is so hard for all of us who are into storytelling. We all feel that our story is worth more than 140 characters."
Geisel encourages people to come with paper, a writing utensil and maybe an apron or another inspirational item such as a photo of the person they will write about.
"I would like them to bring something they can share with the group," she said.
Geisel said these workshops not only enhance the experience of the exhibit, but also bring people together.
"'Apron Chronicles' interprets the apron as a storytelling vehicle and the stories are all connected like a quilt where each piece stands on its own, but stitched together, it represents who we are as humans," she said.
"Apron Chronicles" curator and author EllynAnne Geisel will host two presentations on Nov. 3-4, at the Park City Museum, 528 Main St. The first will be about the "Apron Chronicles" exhibit from 5-6 p.m., and the second will be a memoir-writing workshop that will run from 10 a.m. to noon. Both events are free. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.