The Museum Of Camp

The Museum Of CampTMOC News

The name came to me about two years ago, but the idea arrived in a humid rec hall in Camp Kennybrook in July 1977. It was the Summer of Sam and all kinds of chaos I couldn’t quite fathom. Chaos seemed normal back then. And camp life was great and you could see it reach back through the 1970s to the 1960s and even to the 1950s through all the banners and plaques that were on display. Teenagers were legends and had names like Freaky, Fruity, and Wimpy. New legends were born every summer. I was in Bunk One and after we sang a couple of songs, our group plaque was hung in the rec hall with all the other plaques from 3 different decades. I don’t remember what our group called ourselves, but my name along with Lance Jacobs, Jeff Singer, Scotty Dolgoff, Rock Glotzer, and Philip Garine was sloppily handwritten on a 2’x2’ white plaque that I hope still hangs in that rec hall today.

I haven’t spoken to the boys in Bunk One in over 30 years but I remember what we were like at age 8, the few summers we had through the 1980s, and the feeling I had that my name was permanently on a wall of history. I hope to re-connect with them if just for a short bit. And to have everyone re-connect with their early summers and to document the ways that camp life has changed over the years and the things that never change. To see the plaques and banners once again as they were and as they are. To see old friends as they were and as they are. To read old song lyrics that could only have been written in a particular time and place.

How is it that I have met countless people over the years from a variety of backgrounds and camps and we all have the same fundamental experience? And we all clearly distinguish that experience from everything else in our lives? How is it that we leave camp but never let go? And why are the faces and voices and artifacts not collected, preserved, and shared properly? The experience is not as ephemeral as some would describe it. Now we have a proper place to give the experience and memories a home and a structure for everyone. Every camp you enter is its own living museum. I was 8 years old inside a rec hall that would speak to me for the rest of my life. The Museum Of Camp.

 

Camp Takota

The Museum Of CampTMOC News

There was a little indy film in 2014, Camp Takota, that a friend just shared with me.  I think we could all rattle off a handful of films that try to capture the fun, romance, and challenges of our youth.  So many people describe camp as ‘hard to describe’ yet it’s such fertile ground for our memories.  We’re here to assemble all that source material – the photographs, the song sheets, and artifacts – where was Camp Takota inspired?  Where was Meatballs created?  Who were the real Little Darlings?  We all have our own camp movies living inside our heads.  So if you ever want to describe your experience, share your photos of friends with arms around each other, a worn out basketball with a nipple growing on it, and your favorite Color War plaque.  My own sons were so excited to see Hannah Hart from Good Mythical Morning starring in Camp Takota.  The generations change but the experience doesn’t.

 

PRE-LAUNCH STARTS TODAY!

The Museum Of CampTMOC News

If you are reading this in late spring 2015, you have probably been asked to check out the ‘soft launch’ of The Museum Of Camp or have a friend or relative who has told you about the site.  Well, we couldn’t be happier that you are here.  We want you to explore the site, provide feedback, and start making your contributions of photos and comments.  If you haven’t seen your old summer photos, letters, and Color War song sheets in a while, now is a great time to scan and share them with old friends.  We’re here to help and curate your summer lives.

The T-Shirts

The Museum Of CampTMOC News

I didn’t plan to start with the t-shirts, but let me share the first anecdote.  We had our first t-shirt recognition!  In a small Florida town, no less.  My wife teased me for wearing my silver TMOC shirt, Kennybrook 77 to my son’s playoff game yesterday.  Did I think anyone would notice the shirt, she asked?  Well, Lauren H. stopped by in the fourth inning to ask about Kennybrook and tell me she was just talking to another friend a few minutes earlier about someone else going to Kennybrook.  And Lauren was just looking through her own old camp letters earlier in the week at her parents house.  She said they were emotionally hilarious.  I have found one dry, unemotionally hilarious letter of my own which I will post here.  Click on the image for better resolution.  We look forward to Lauren’s letters arriving at The Museum Of Camp as well as many others to be scanned and posted.  Thank you, Lauren for our first t-shirt sighting!

TW letter copy

Your Endless Summer

The Museum Of CampMEMORIES, PRESENT, TMOC News

Welcome to Your Endless Summer.  At The Museum Of Camp, you can always share your past and present summer lives with friends.  We have a lot planned for the future, so start sharing and connecting now.