Wednesday, December 09, 2015

How history repeats itself when we plan for OT Anniversaries!

Near the beginning of this series on the history of the occupational therapy profession I documented how many of the details about George Barton and Consolation House were beginning to fade.  A concerted effort near the 50th anniversary of the profession helped to preserve some memory and connection to Consolation House, but planning for this event was very complicated.

I was excited today to hear that there was some beginning plans to commemorate the occupational therapy Centennial by having some ceremony or re-dedication plaque in Clifton Springs.  This is all in the beginning stages of planning, but it reminded me about the initial plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary in Clifton Springs.  I thought I would share some of the source documentation that went into that planning.

During the planning stages for the 50 year celebration the Consolation House was privately owned by Mr. William Wright.  Here is a letter that was written to Mr. Wright from AOTA President Florence Cromwell outlining some of the details associated with the plans for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.  You will have to click on the letters and documents to see them in full size and resolution.:

 


Here is a picture of the proposal for the 50th Anniversary plaque that was placed on the Consolation House property:



There is an interesting backstory about the marker.  In correspondence there was debate about where to place the marker.  The original plan was to place the marker between the sidewalk and the street.  Mayor Copeland obtained approval from the Clifton Springs Board of Trustees and he felt there were advantages to having it in a more 'public' space. Here is a letter from Mayor Copeland indicating that the Village approved a public space but that it seems there was a change to place the marker on Consolation House itself:



AOTA President Florence Cromwell replied, indicating that it was Mr Wright's (the property owner) preference that the plaque be placed directly on the house:



Communicating by postal mail between California and New York in a constricted time frame made coordination of plans for this event a little difficult!

These are all small but still interesting details of how the planning progressed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OT profession.  The reason why I found this particularly interesting is because of a casual comment made to me by someone who informed me of plans to possibly organize a Centennial ceremony or re-dedication plaque in Clifton Springs.  The plans are complex and involve local folk in Clifton Springs, the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

The comment was, "Getting everyone talking to each other seems to be the biggest challenge."

Apparently, the challenges of coordination and communication may be no different than they were 50 years ago!  I am sure that just like then this will also eventually come together into a very nice plan - but it is amazing  how history repeats and repeats itself!

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