Reflections from Guest Curator Trevor Delp

GUEST CURATOR:  Trevor Delp

During my time guest curating on the Adverts 250 Project I learned a tremendous amount about the value of culture in relation to history. At first this seemed like common sense to me, but as I worked through many different advertisements I realized that they gave me a personal look into everyday life and the values found in the colonies. Today there are so many different forms of advertisements that many go overlooked, but this project gave me a new perspective. I found that although things may seem insignificant now, in the future that may all change.

Prior to working on the Adverts 250 Project I had very little understanding of the process of professional history. As a history major I had written many research essays and analytical essays, but never had I worked on something that would be published for the public eye. This gave a new sense of importance to my work, and one that really motivated me.

My work on the Adverts250 project was at times stressful but ultimately very rewarding. I was very nervous that I was underprepared for a project of this magnitude. I was able to fight through the tougher moments and in return was able to truly enjoy the work I was doing. When I began as guest curator I did not know where to begin. At first, I struggled to find insight into some of the more basic advertisements but over time my way of thinking evolved. I was able to look past the basic sentences and find meaning in the actual words used. This was a huge step for me while not only working on my project but also as an historian. I learned to ask intuitive questions of the advertisements that enhanced my understanding of the time. I have always been interested in history and the value of it, but I never saw the meaning of it. I was just interested in things of the past, not what they told of the past. The Adverts 250 Project changed all of that for me and since completing the project I can only describe the experience as invaluable.

One of the most daunting aspects of the project for me was that my work was going to be presented to a public audience. This was the first time that any of my work as a student would be publicly seen and that was intimidating to me. As I worked more and more on the project it gave me a sense of motivation. For me, it is easy to get caught up in the monotonous routine of writing essays strictly to been seen by professors. I really grew to love this project because it felt as if I had a reason for writing. That perspective was something that I wish I could have been exposed to earlier because it really intensified my appreciation and love for working with historical texts.

To judge the difficulty of this project is tough for me. At times it was incredibly difficult, but at the same time I enjoyed my work so much I did not focus on the difficulty of it. On some advertisements it took me an tremendously long time to figure out what I wanted to say, but I still found the process very intriguing. Additionally, once I found something that interested me within the texts I became completely absorbed in trying to decipher how it related to the late eighteenth century. In other words, the process was challenging for me, but one that I looked forward to.

To conclude, I am excited to have completed my first week as guest curator and have great anticipation for my second week. One of favorite quotes by Albert Einstein goes, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” I hope that those who read my posts were intrigued and ultimately learned something new. As a passionate historian I hope to never stop learning from the worlds before us and the ones to come.

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ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:  Carl Robert Keyes

Thank you, Trevor, for an interesting and thoughtful slate of advertisements for the past week.  Many of your selections reminded us of the many ways that advertisements can be read:  on their own, in relationship to other advertisements, and in relationship to broader cultural, political, and economic trends in eighteenth-century America.  Trevor will be returning for a second week as guest curator at the end of the semester.

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