By Savannah Lore
This week I have been spending time on the tour script for the Majors house. Mostly, I have been going through Majors’ memoir, Seventy Years on the Frontier, and looking at the documents from the Wornall-Majors Museum records.
The documents from Wornall-Majors will take more time to figure out just because of the range of things that I have found. Majors’ memoir, however, has supplied me we with a good amount of information that I did not know and will add into my tour script.
I know I have to be careful with some of the information that Majors writes. As a good historian knows, memoirs are biased and based on memories usually written decades later. (Majors, writing in 1893, is a fan of the traditional narrative of the West. And thus, treats groups, like Native Americans, not in a correct or appropriate manner that we expect today.) So, the stories will not be used in that manner in my script. However, some of these stories could be great material in trying to explain Majors thoughts, feelings and self-identity. Storytelling is a major part of a tour because it keeps visitors engaged. For example, talking about the accidents that plague Pony Express riders (drowning, freezing to death) is a way of saying it was dangerous occupation so people learn it quickly and have examples. I have not had many visitors only interested in the bare facts of the building and the facts about Majors. Not to say that it hasn’t happen where people will only ask questions about when furniture was built or wanting to know about the different kinds of wood. It happens, and some times people only want a chance to talk about what they know without my input. I, however, notice that people will directly engage me more if I tell them a great narrative as an example of what information I want them to know.