A number of the bloggernacle’s luminaries descended on the party town of Sacramento, California, last weekend for the 2008 conference of the Mormon History Association (MHA)—a theme many have blogged about.
If you missed all the fun, there’s no reason to be bitter because there’s always next year! And if you thought they couldn’t top Sacramento, hold onto your stove-pipe hats…next year, MHA’s going to Springfield…(wait for it)…Illinois!
“But why?” you ask. Short answer: There isn’t sufficient conference and hotel space in Nauvoo to accommodate a gathering as large as MHA. More upbeat answer: as far as namesakes to the Simpson’s everytown go, Springfield, Illinois, is a pretty sweet place to go!
Why should you make plans to goto Springfield a year from now, May 21–24, 2009? Here are five reasons:
#5. Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln. If you think Mormons are Joseph Smith crazy, wait til you see the professional crazies in Springfield, Illinois. These people are ape-nutz over Lincoln. Everything’s named Lincoln, including the conference hotel and convention center. That said, the Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library is a massive, modern museum, brimming interactive displays and an incredible collection. The museum and sites (Lincoln’s home, Lincoln’s office, Lincoln’s horse’s stable, etc.) are all in easy walking distance from the hotel. (BTW, 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.)
#4. Mormon history. It may surprise you how much Mormon history took place in Springfield. A lot of Mormon-era buildings remain, including the old State Capitol Building, which Joseph Smith and a number of early Mormons visited and where the Nauvoo charter was both passed and revoked.
#3. Nauvoo. A post-conference tour will extensively visit Nauvoo. Even if you’ve already been to Nauvoo, I can assure you that the experience is different when you tour with a group of historians. There’s a lot less Disney and a lot more history.
#2. The Mormon history conference experience. The Mormon history community is an extremely welcoming fellowship. It’s very easy to meet and share ideas with the very people who wrote the books on the topics of discussion. If you haven’t experienced it, you ought to.
#1. Bloggernacle meet-up. Sacramento ended up drawing a large group of Mormon bloggers. Online communities don’t always get a lot of opportunities to meet up IRL. Next year we’ll formalize a meetup at MHA with a “bloggernacle breakfast” or something like that.
By the way, don’t just plan on going; plan on presenting. MHA is eager to reach out to new voices, which bring different perspectives to the conversation. As a member of next year’s MHA program committee, I want to encourage all of you folks to consider making a proposal. If you haven’t done it before, I can assure you that giving a presentation at MHA isn’t as scary as you might think. If you decide to join the conversation IRL at MHA next year, email me (or the entire program committee) with your proposal and a brief bio. Hope to see you there.