The phrase “last will and testament” evoke a lot of different feelings. Beyond the finality of death, there’s the desire to carry out those last wishes. When Mrs. Betsy Saunders and Mrs. Mary Mitchell learned about philanthropist Grace Arents’ will and that her intention to have gardens planted in memory of her uncle, entrepreneur Lewis Ginter, had yet to be carried out, the women were spurred to action. We met Betsy and Mary onsite of an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal awardee, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, when they participated in StoryCorps.
LGBG sits on an historic property of over 50 acres of beautiful gardens, but the organization brings more than beautiful nature to it’s community: LGBG is a place to volunteer, somewhere to listen to music with the family, and even a good afternoon picnic spot. Its public programming educates the community on gardening and horticulture, allowing youth to realize that, yes, they eat plants.
That’s LGBG today, but back in 1981, 13 years after the city of Richmond took possession of the property, the land looked quite different.
The Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries, an Institute for Museum and Library Services‘ 2010 National Award winner, hosted StoryCorps for three recording days at their Wright Farms branch in Thornton, Colorado. During our visit, Pam Sandlian Smith, the district’s library director, and her good friend, Sharon Morris, recorded a conversation about Anythink and some of their formative memories at other libraries.
Pam remembered a little boy who visited the Denver Children’s Library many summers ago while she and Sharon worked there. He saw the unused story hour room, its stage and hand puppets, and asked Pam if he could hold a show there at the end of the week. Sensing an opportunity, Pam obliged with one condition: He had to keep the room tidy.