Creative Aid for
New Jersey's Historic Sites
Unlike many states, New Jersey has no stable source of funding for it's historic sites and, as a result, those historic sites are in a continual state of monetary crisis.
Over the years, because of his intense interest in history, John has worked with museums of all sizes lending his writing talents to help them in the never-ending necessity to raise funding. He brings with him his well-honed ability to generate publicity within a tight a budget—something he learned from years of working on small films and from publishing.
Sometimes, his help has been thwarted as in the case of the out-of-the-way historic site in Northern New Jersey. Several years ago, John had been referred to the site because they desperately needed a book about the place to be sold not only on site but online. A book would help parlay the history from past visitors to new potential visitors and would serve not only as an educational tool but an advertising tool as well. The curator, a state employee barely coping with year after year of state budget-cuts, was thrilled that John would consider such an undertaking and happily brought the idea to the site's volunteer group. It died with that group due to the usual territorial intrigues. As of February, 2006, the historic site still needed $1.3 million for repairs. Although John still felt strongly that he could have helped, a difficult atmosphere can quickly exhaust anyone's generosity.
Now, recharged by his recently published West Orange history, John will once again attempt offering his talents to New Jersey historic sites. He has the resources to bring entire book projects together or to furnish polished professional scripts for stage or screen. If a site—whether state, county, municipal, or private—feels it can be helped by these talents and abilities, feel free to contact John via e-mail below.
If it is a site with which John can identify; if the working conditions and personalities are pleasant; and if things fit into his schedule, he might very well take on the project.
John will only work outside governmental bureaucracy. He will work directly with directors and curators of privately run historic sites. He will work directly with directors and curators and/or with gift shops and/or with volunteer groups who function within the auspices of government-run historic sites. In all cases, his usual proviso is to be respected: there is to be no political influence or interference in any way. Why? Because it has been John's unfortunate experience that, more often than not, politicians tend to want to slant history for personal and political gains. That undermines the most basic goals of a good historian.
Unusual terms? Possibly. But they are not without reason. John is an established professional. If he takes on this sort of job, it is for his enjoyment in giving something back. His terms serve to eliminate the usual problems which can hamstring a creative project causing him needless headaches and conflicts. If lending a helping hand can't be enjoyable, why bother?
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