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Bringing History to Life, One Artifct at a Time 

September 07, 2022

At Artifcts, we seek to make histories and stories more accessible for all the world to see. We envision a world in which a student on the West Coast can find Artifcts (and their stories!) about a Women’s March that happened only days or weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Or an alumna of a community arts workspace can pop over to Artifcts to find the projects they worked on years ago and share them with their children.

The possibilities are endless. Crowdsourcing history? Preserving objects and stories in real time? Yes and yes, with Artifcts.

It seems that the Arti Community we’re building together agrees. We are all members of not only a local but global community. The actions we take, and the things we do may not seem significant on a day-to-day basis, but we never know how history will look back on any of us. What we do today could very well end up in the history books of tomorrow.   

Meet the Nickerson Family Association  

Our desire to preserve and share history is one of the many reasons why we were delighted to work with the Nickerson Family Association (NFA) to document the historic artifacts they uncovered while excavating the original homesite of William and Anne (Busby) Nickerson, the founders of the Town of Chatham, Massachusetts. For non-locals, this was essentially the founding of Cape Cod.  

For five months in 2018 and 2019, lead archaeologist Craig Chartier and his team of volunteers uncovered the remains of the house and outbuildings at the c. 1664 homestead. The NFA affectionately refers to this work as the Nick Dig.  

Through a collaboration of the NFA and Artifcts, the Nick Dig artifacts are all now viewable, searchable, and discoverable at Artifcts.com. The Nick Dig team even created a walking tour around the original dig site, using Artifcts-generated QR codes to guide visitors around the grassy knoll of what was once the original homesite.

 

 
 Pipe from the 1600s recovered during the Nick Dig. 
 

A Cape Cod Historical Tour for Those of You at Home  

Want to take your own computer-assisted tour of the Nick Dig site and other related Artifcts?  

  • Click here to explore the features of the dig site
  • Click here to view some of the neat artifacts unearthed at the site 
  • Click here to learn about the dig itself and what it was like to be part of the Nick Dig Team  
  • Click here to get a glimpse into the life of William and Anne out at the elbow of Cape Cod, the eastern-most point of the continental US 

Have questions about how best to capture your own family’s history? Reach out for a free 15-minute introduction with us at Hello@Artifcts.com. And be sure to join our Evenings with Artifcts on Thursday nights this fall. Our speakers will bring energy and new perspectives to important themes related to capturing and preserving history of today and long ago. 

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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What's New at Artifcts
Not Sure What to Write? Tips from Guest Jeff Greenwald

He's authored 1000s of articles, several books, and what's maybe the first known travel blog. And on Thursday night during Evenings with Artifcts Jeff Greenwald shared with us simple but powerful tips, and a healthy dose of perspective, to help us craft our own stories behind the objects of our lives.  

Watch the full Evenings with Artifcts event here.

  • It is hard to write about an object with no personal meaning but even harder when it has tremendous personal meaning. Bear that in mind and go easy on yourself. 

  • Start with something true. This is the trick to writing anything nonfiction. For example, start with a little line about where you got the object: “I bought this in a street market in Istanbul.” And from there go on to describe the scene a little bit and what happened there that connects you with the object.  

Start with something true.

  • Other starters for your Artifcts:  

        • Where were you when you acquired the object? 
        • Was it a gift? Who gave it to you? Tell a bit about them. What was your relationship with them that they felt they should give you a gift like that? “The moon Rocket was a gift for my friend Dave Mccutcheon, and he and I have been friends for many years and share a love of robots and spaceships and dinosaurs... all those things we loved when we were kids.” 
        • Why is it important to you?
        • What feelings does it evoke in you?
  • If a story comes to mind, you can just start jotting it down anywhere. Let your thoughts go where they will. It can be a collection of random thoughts that you can look at later and put together into some sort of a story structure. 

  • We all have stories. Writers block comes from our internal critic. It challenges you with, “Why would anybody want to read it? What could you have to say? What makes you think you're so great that anyone should listen to anything you're telling them?” You have to tell yourself, “I have a right to do this because I’m a human being with a story, and the story deserves to be told whether or not you, my internal critic, thinks that it does.” Push the internal critic aside. 
I’m a human being with a story, and the story deserves to be told.
  • If you value the stories and need motivation to begin capturing and preserving those stories with Artifcts, make a deal with yourself like Jeff did. Jeff made a pact to give away the objects once their stories were told. Maybe you’ll choose to Artifct twice per week. Or perhaps you’ll start with those items that are most meaningful to you.  

  • A bit of advice Jeff shared from esteemed author Kurt Vonnegut: Write your stories as though you are writing them for one person, as if you are telling this person each of the stories. It gives all the stories a similar tone, a singular voice. 

  • Always include when and where the object was acquired. These are important details.

  • Struggling with a title? Write out 10 of them. It will help you to start to shape your story, too.

Our stuff, the objects that we collect, that inspire us, they are really not what's important. We do not need to keep them. The only thing that is important are the stories, and the only way to keep the stories is to tell them.

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Evenings with Artifcts Series, Fall 2022

Throughout fall 2022, we're hosting Evenings with Artifcts on Thursday evenings. Our guests in this nine-part series dive into the world of 'stuff' and stories. Below we've provided a week by week feature for each speaker in the series and direct links to the speaker's Artifcts, other related ARTIcles by Artifcts, and the Evenings with Artifcts event recordings. 

Want to suggest a speaker for future live events? We'd love to hear from you! Please contact us at Editor@Artifcts.com.

EVENINGS WITH ARTIFCTS

Matt Paxton joins Evenings with Artifcts

Week 1: Matt Paxton (@IAMMATTPAXTON)

Host of the TV show Legacy List with Matt Paxton

DOWNSIZING, CLEANING, ORGANIZING, STORY TELLING

 

Related content: 

- 15 Decluttering Targets for Artifcters

- Event replay on YouTube

Jeff Greenwald joins Evenings with Artifcts

Week 2: Jeff Greenwald (@Jeffji)

Acclaimed author, artist, photographer, and speaker

WRITING, TRAVEL BLOGGING, STORIES BEHIND THE OBJECTS

 

Related content:

Is That a Toy Camera?

- Not Sure What to Write? Tips from Jeff Greenwald

- Event replay on YouTube

Dutch Miller joins Evenings with Artifcts

Week 3: Dutch Miller (@Gardenboy)

Estate planner, hobby family historian, Smithsonian volunteer

ESTATE PLANNING, FAMILY HISTORY & LEGACY

 

Related content:

- Gift Your Loved Ones a "Why" (Coming soon!)

- Visit Event replay on YouTube > (Coming soon!)

Read more
Is That a Toy Camera?

Objects can not only have different names—flipflops vs. thongs; church key vs. bottle opener; bubbler vs. drinking fountain—but different hidden meanings.  

Maybe that’s not just a handbag. Instead, it’s a Christmas gift from your grandfather the year before he died, and you think of him every time you see it.  

Or that’s not an unused faucet part, but a token reminding you that hard problems need solutions and sometimes you have no choice but to be the one to solve them.  

Brass Water Tank Faucet

 
 
© 2021 108 Beloved Objects

And you don’t hold onto worthless trinkets like toy cameras. You just wish you’d made a better impression on the great Ansel Adams. 

 small toy camera made of bamboo

 
 
© 2021 108 Beloved Objects

Photos can’t talk. (We’ve discussed this before.) 

Objects can’t talk either. 

The meaning behind each could transform something from random object to family heirloom, thrift shop consignment to cherished keepsake, trash to life parable. Have you read about the solo sandal?

Share a hidden story, a piece of you, and consider making space in your life for the unexpected. Storysharing can be freeing, as one author will undoubtedly convince you tomorrow, Thursday, September 22, during part two of our free series Evenings with Artifcts. 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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