Lindsey Block '08 majored in History and Communication at Wheaton. While she was an undergraduate, she volunteered at the Field Museum and studied abroad in Scotland.
Why did you choose to study abroad in Scotland?
Well, I wanted to study abroad, but I don’t speak any language besides English, so I was a little limited in my options. I had gone on a missions trip to Ireland the summer before starting at Wheaton, and made a friend there. She was already studying in Edinburgh and convinced me to join her. So I enrolled in the University of Edinburgh as a visiting student.
What classes did you take while in Scotland? Which was your favorite?
I took British Social History, Heritage in Britain, and Japan: Politics Culture and Social Change 1862-1952. Heritage in Britain was by far my favorite class. One of the themes we discussed was about the development of museums, which I love.
How did you get involved with oral storytelling?
The semester that I studied abroad in Scotland (which has a much stronger oral tradition than America), I happened to see a poster advertising Storytelling Skills Development. I decided to go to a few workshops because they sounded so interesting. I ended up going to so many that I earned a certificate in oral storytelling.
My favorite workshop was “Storytelling In Museums: The Power Of Objects.” The presenter told a true story of a girl from Edinburgh who was forced to flee the city during World War II, and all she took with her was one pair of clothes, a gas mask, and marbles. Once the presenter finished the story, she brought out the actual clothes and gas mask and marbles that the girl had taken with her. It was such a great way for oral history to come alive, because not only have you heard the story, but you’ve actually touched something from it.
Written by Katie Haas, April 2008