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Archive for September, 2006

The Wren’s Nest: Not Your Mother’s House Museum.


Written on September 28, 2006 at 11:26 am, by Lain Shakespeare

…actually, it probably was.

And still is.

Sigh.

Anyway, one of the cool things about working in a house museum like the Wren’s Nest is that it’s actually not boring. Okay, stop laughing. Seriously, on top of the million problems that need to be solved or ignored on a daily basis, there is controversy! What more can a young professional (ha) ask for!

Joel Chandler Harris lived, wrote and died a long time ago. Before you were born, even. He made a good run of it from 1845-1908, but his work is still talked about today…and especially recently. Example: Up and Coming Magazine, an alternative weekly in North Carolina, ran this article just yesterday.

Some pretty heated name-calling in there. Watch out! Anyway, I have more reserved than just one mere blog post on this topic, but why don’t you, dear reader, mull it over while I pick through the mess of papers sitting at my feet. I’ll get back to you.

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Categories: JCH |

More Like the Great Enabler


Written on September 26, 2006 at 1:57 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Have you ever talked to one those jerks who say that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes? Well, they’re wrong. Dead wrong. There is a little known third certainty, but an equally important one: the willingness of children to buy rock candy at any price.

Some of you might say, “But Lain, it’s a market driven by scarcity! Just make the rock candy more accessible to children and they’ll chill out.” To that I say, “Prove it, jerk! Prove it!” Because you won’t…and you can’t. Children will climb any mountain and cross any river in order to buy rock candy, and even then they do not care about the cost.

This morning we gave a tour and storytelling to a well behaved group of ninety kids. And then they saw the gift shop. 200 pieces of rock candy later, the Wren’s Nest sold out of of the stuff. I narrowly escaped certain death at the sticky hands and blue and green stained teeth of some seriously motivated fifth graders. Their teachers, none too excited about the bus ride home with these freshly sugared urchins, reluctantly kept the little ones from tearing me to bits.

My title may be “executive director” but sometimes it feels more like “drug dealer for children.” Anyway, I think they had a good time.

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Categories: Fundraising |

“I don’t understand exactly”


Written on September 24, 2006 at 8:13 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Dear Andy,

The Wren’s Nest is this crazy ole Eastlake / Queen Anne Victorian home in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta. It was built in 1870.

Joel Chandler Harris (or JCH as we call him in the pros) moved to the home around 1880 with his wife and children. He fixed it up nice, real nice, with a big front porch and stained glass windows. Over time, wrens made a nest in his mailbox and from then on the house was known as “the Wren’s Nest.” So far: totally awesome. It only gets better. (more…)

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Categories: Atlanta, JCH, West End |

Saturday Storytelling


Written on September 23, 2006 at 6:54 am, by Lain Shakespeare

First, welcome facebookers. Go ahead and do me a favor: hit “ctrl” and “d” at the same time. Go on, I’ll wait.

There. Now you’ve officially bookmarked the Wren’s Nest! Incredible! You can read this every day!

If you’ve just stumbled across this site and have nothing to do this afternoon, I recommend that you stop by the Wren’s Nest around 1 o’clock for storytelling. We’ll do it outside in the reading garden if it’s not raining. Miss Woodie will be here to tell, and as some of you know, she’s too good to miss. Check out the main page for directions.

Can’t come? Don’t worry too much. We have storytelling every Saturday at 1. Bring the neighborhood.

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Categories: Storytelling |

The Great revitalizer


Written on September 21, 2006 at 10:29 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Forbes Traveler gives a great shout out to the Wren’s Nest in its latest incarnation of Atlanta Insider. Check out the Underrated section. Big ups, Forbes.

And from the look of the article, I’m totally famous now. I promise not to let it get to my head, but if you would please now call me “the Great Revitalizer” instead of “Lain,” that would be more appropriate.

Most kidding aside, a non-profit like the Wren’s Nest does not just magically revitalize itself, and rarely can any one person take the credit. Most of the “revitalization” comes from people like you. Yes, all three of you. With a (tax-deductible) donation to the Wren’s Nest, you can become a part of the elaborate latticework of giving that revitalizes the Wren’s Nest or any other non-profit. But really, just the Wren’s Nest. “The (so-called) Great Revitalizer” is merely the dude who sparks the process. So, let this be your spark! Head to the Wren’s Nest main page where you can donate online via credit card.

P.S. Do people really say “big ups”?

Ghosts at the Wren’s Nest.


Written on September 19, 2006 at 9:08 am, by Lain Shakespeare

It makes sense, right? The house is old. It is a little spooky. Folks died here a long time ago. What else do you need? I don’t know for sure, but the good people at the Georgia Ghost Society might. Apparently, there have been “reports of paranormal activity taking place at the Wren’s Nest.” Maybe the activity is related to our alarm sounding at random. Or maybe the little boy asking about ghosts on Friday was onto something. Either way, I hadn’t planned on historic preservation at the ethereal level. But I could be wrong; maybe that’s preservation in the truest sense. Ooh.

Artistic generosity


Written on September 18, 2006 at 8:29 am, by Lain Shakespeare

This site is going to be a little light on the frills for the moment, until I figure out how to be an artistic genius, anyway.

Or maybe I don’t have to.

One of the things that I learn again and again at the Wren’s Nest is that a good lot of people would like to help out non-profits if only they knew how. Trouble is, many can’t or don’t like giving money, so they’re often automatically discarded as useless and stingy. That’s a shame, because so many of these useless and stingy people actually happen to be skilled and willing to help. Some of them are even funny and nice to talk to! Why would you want to overlook someone like that? Don’t think too hard: short answer is, you wouldn’t.

Today I met a man named Kevin who books musicians at East Andrews and has a background in marketing. Now, Kevin would be a perfect candidate for a non-profit that wants to promote a music venue cozily nestled under a tree canopy within its 2.249 acre grounds, ahem. I mean, Andrews Upstairs is a remarkable venue with a clientele very different than that of the Wren’s Nest. The cross-pollination could be very beneficial for both venues and expose customers to different parts of town that they wouldn’t normally be privy to. Not only that, but Kevin seems like the sort of guy who would help no matter what. He may not give the Wren’s Nest a check for several thousand dollars (yet), but his expertise is invaluable.

This is especially helpful to me, a shmuck without a background in marketing and a background in design that extends no further than coloring between the lines.

The moral is, don’t limit your benefactors to just those with a fat wallet. One of them might be a talented artist and web designer with WordPress experience (please), you never know.

Hello world…is right, buster.


Written on September 13, 2006 at 11:54 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Soon this will be the home of the day to day happenings at the Wren’s Nest. Stay tuned for totally awesome content like the differences between Neil Patrick Harris and Joel Chandler Harris, as well as only slightly less awesome content such as issues in historic preservation.

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Categories: Storytelling |