Organizes Shaker’s Attic
16 WINTER 2021 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE
How did you come up with the idea for Shaker’s Attic?
I was doing an inventory project for the whole house and I found a lot of unique
items that we weren’t showing to the public on a daily basis. I started making a list of
them and then I created an exhibit out of it. The idea is that this is the community’s
attic, and just like your attic at home, it has everything you want to keep, but that
you don’t necessarily have in the main rooms.
How did you select the items for the exhibit?
First I considered significant donors to the museum. Another factor was historical
significance. And then finally, I selected items you’d find in a normal attic.
For example, I found a lot of ice skates and I thought that was something that a lot
of people would have in their own attics and it was something they could relate to.
You did everything for the exhibit?
I wrote all the labels and chose everything and designed the exhibit. The only thing
I didn’t do was take the photos for the digital exhibit.
Was there something you learned or found that surprised you?
I learned that our records for the museum have not been as accurate as we thought.
So I learned to fact-check everything which was good because it showed me how
much revision and research you have to do for a project like this and that it’s
important not to take any information for granted.
What’s your favorite thing at the Historical Society?
Upstairs we have a room called the Shaker Bedroom. I really enjoy this room because
most of the artifacts in the room are from the North Union village. For the most
part, the Van Sweringens destroyed everything from the village, but we still have
Does this mean that history is your favorite subject?
Yes, but more specifically, I’m most interested in government and politics.
What do you love most about history?
I know it’s a cliché, but I think it’s so clear that history repeats itself. My favorite
part of researching is when I find something that happened 200 years ago and it’s
happening right now. That’s the best part of history for me. I think we can learn so
much from not being ignorant of the past, especially in terms of government policy.
Do you have any idea what you want to do with the rest of your life?
I want to work in campaigns, preferably, congressional or presidential. I’m interested
in campaign strategy and the history of it. I think it’s the most integral and most
interesting part of our democracy.
View Hazel’s exhibit online through February 27, 2021 at shakerhistory.org.
After three years of volunteering at the
Shaker Historical Society and Museum,
Shaker Heights High School sophomore
Hazel Smith decided that she wanted to
take on more responsibility. “I wanted to
create more change, more community
programs, unique exhibits, and things
like that. So I joined the board as a
junior member,” she says. Only one week
into the showing of her first exhibit,
Shaker’s Attic, the Historical Society
closed due to the pandemic, but fans of
the Historical Society can still catch the
exhibit online. We caught up with Hazel
and asked her a few questions about the
exhibit and her passion for history.