This blog, “Goat Anyone?,” achieved a milestone last week. It had nothing to do with number of posts or number of visitors. Indeed, the milestone had nothing at all to do with anything WordPress stats might record about its virtual life.
That’s because what “Goat Anyone?” achieved was real world recognition. As representative of this New Media platform I was invited to a reception for bloggers preceding the Peabody Essex Museum’s monthly PEM/PM party. Ostensibly, I presume to write about the expanding museum and its innovative programming.
Throughout the evening I had to explain what “Goat Anyone?” is and how it got its name. Questions I don’t often think about.
I started this blog when several lifetimes ago I went off to the goat farm in Poland to make cheese. It was a travel log in the waning days of the mass email.
I kept “Goat Anyone?” going as I continued across Russia and into China – acquiring new readers as the distance between its original audience and purpose grew.
It’s now been nearly six years since I first started writing about goats, and in that time I’ve managed to write about a lot (El Camino de Santiago, dumpster diving, all things French), though relatively little about goats. I never would have guessed that the site would develop a readership in France nearly as dedicated as that in America.
So it seems appropriate that the coming-out of “Goat Anyone?” was PEM’s “dirt” party.
PEM, my neighborhood art museum currently engaged in a $650 million expansion is the oldest continuously operating museum in America with a mission to “transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.” These evening parties, scheduled for the third Thursday of each month are designed to engage new and diverse audiences with the Museum and its collection.
In the Moshe Safdie designed atrium there were representatives of Salem Community Gardens and the Salem Farmers Market, a model dressed as a garden, staged for life sketching, and a tour of the American galleries tracing early American foodways.
There were many people who had never been to the Museum before, had never been to a PEM/PM party before, did not know about the Salem Community Gardens or Farmers Market or that the person standing in front of them in line for a taste of Salem Naumkeag’s pickles was a dear friend of an old neighbor.
To say it was transformative might be a stretch, but expanding surely, in much the same way this blog is now not just a virtual travel log for my friends and family but a real world platform for new media in the 21st century.