This Cultural Treasure, Once a Traveling Exhibition, is the Only Museum in the United States Dedicated to and Focused on Preserving the History of Black Dolls

(Header image, courtesy of the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, are of dolls that are among the more than 6,000 in the museum’s collection.)

Willwork Global Event Services is a leading international exhibition services and event management company.

Willwork Global Event Services works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the United States.  We also work internationally.  Indeed, our international business is growing fast. 

We launched in 1987.  Our corporate office is located about 25 miles south of Boston, in South Easton, MA, a section of the incorporated town of Easton.  Willwork Global Event Services operates offices in major metropolitan areas across America.

On our blog, and across our social media channels, we take the opportunity to tie in, and integrate, current and historic events and anniversaries to the business of Willwork Global Event Services: exhibitions and events. 

This we are doing today with a post in honor and commemoration of Black History Month, an ennobling and important national annual event.

February is Black History Month.

Last year, on this blog, we gave tribute to Black History Month with a post titled, “Museums and Exhibitions, and Tours, That Honor and Educate About the Black Experience in America.”

Beyond, and in addition to the subject matter described in the title of the post, the post included background on Black History Month and how the event came to be.

For Black History Month 2019, we are taking a look at another exhibition that honors and educates about the black experience in our republic.

Aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman doll at the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

In conducting research for this post, we were pleased to learn about a trove of a celebration of black culture in Mansfield, MA, a town that borders Easton (again, the community that hosts the Willwork headquarters).

At 288 North Main Street in Mansfield resides the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, a museum (and we submit a museum is a type of exhibition) that is, as described on the organization’s website, “Celebrating black history through the eyes of a doll collector.”

The National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (NBDMHC) s the only museum in America dedicated to and focused on preserving the history of black dolls.

Founder of the museum is Debra Britt, 65, a Mansfield resident.  Ms. Britt is one of eight children who grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. She started collecting black dolls as a child.  Ms. Britt, who worked at the South Station post office for 21 years, has collected a lot of dolls.  She founded a nonprofit museum which took the dolls on the road and made them accessible to the public.

Story of racial inequality in America told in a dollhouse (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

How did the NBDMHC come to take residence in downtown Mansfield?

A portion of an answer to that question is found in the following excerpt from a story, “In Mansfield, a one-of-a-kind collection of black dolls,” published on September 29, 2017 in the South regional section of the Boston Globe:

“For years, the nonprofit museum was a traveling exhibit, more than 5,000 dolls, carried to battered women’s shelters, soup kitchens, and schools; stored in boxes and tubs in her attic, basement, and garage.  But eventually Britt …  and her two sisters tired of packing and unpacking and lugging boxes around. Britt’s husband, a retired Boston police officer, was losing patience as the dolls overtook the couple’s Mansfield home.”

What to do with a collection that kept growing and growing?

In 2012, a saving solution was realized when Ms. Britt found affordable and vacant commercial space on North Main Street. 

Tribal dolls (image courtesy of the NBDMHC)

Please click here to be taken to the full Boston Globe story, which is written by Hattie Bernstein.

Today the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture has more than 6,000 dolls.  It runs a busy schedule of educational programs, workshops, readings, tours, discussions … and more.

The renown and profile of the museum continues to rise.

“Learning from Toys,” a story about the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, by Nell Porter Brown, was published in the May, June 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine.

Willwork Global Event Services is confident that the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture will continue to attract more and more attention and interest, and will continue grow and expand its reach and influence and value as a curator and teacher of black culture. 

Marvel Comics action hero General Okoyne doll (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

Leonardo da Vinci – Among the Most Extraordinary, Curious, and Creative Minds in History – Was a Star in Producing Plays, Pageants, Exhibitions, and Events

(Header photo: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper – a painting which shows the influence of Leonardo’s work in the theater and exhibitions.)

Willwork Global Event Services is an international leader in exhibition services and event project management.

A major component of our business is art and design: art and design in the form of exhibits, structures, props, and interiors we install, maintain, and dismantle; and art and design in the form of multimedia production and storytelling we create and produce.

As well, it is our privilege and good fortune to work, from coast to coast, in buildings and other spaces that are architectural and design masterpieces, many which are historic and iconic.  Day after day, Willwork performs its trade within and amid excellence in structure and design.  

On this blog, from time to time, we herald and exalt the sublime and brilliant, the magnificent, in architecture, design, and engineering, and how it is all tied together and integrated.  We present examples of how the study of, and what is learned in, one discipline can be applied to and improve another discipline.

Examples of this heralding and exalting published here include the post about the history of the arch (January 26, 2018) – and the post, published on December 7, 2016, about the World’s Columbian Exposition, also called the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

On April 15, 2016, we celebrated in this space the 664th birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, who is, just maybe, the most creative and intellectually curious person in history, and also one of its most sensitive and observant. Please click here to be taken the post. 

Leonardo fully and completely exemplified and demonstrated the life of the polymath, accomplished in, and making great and important and valuable contributions to, the study of nature, engineering, architecture, study of anatomy, sculpture, painting, mechanics, weaponry … and much more.

Leonardo da Vinci achieved mightily, and in epic dimension, in the pursuit of learning … of breadth and depth of disciplines and subjects studied, and ability to amalgamate what he learned and how he saw and envisioned various subjects and disciplines to create, to invent, beauty and efficiencies and new forms of art.  His mind was always imagining and fantasizing.

In the Leonardo da Vinci birthday post, we suggested and put forward for consideration just how magnificent would Leonardo have been as a designer of tradeshow exhibits.  

Yes … for sure … exhibits that Leonardo designed would have incorporated his vast intellectual library, all his areas of study and interest and invention, and applied the knowledge and inspiration to design and create remarkable, stunning show exhibits.

May 2 of this year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo. In commemoration, events are being held across Europe. Clicking here takes you to a story, “Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Leonardo: The death of the Italian Renaissance master is being marked by exhibitions and tours in 2019.,” by Nora Walsh, published in the New York Times on February 12.      

Now, while Leonardo da Vinci did not design tradeshow exhibits, he most certainly planned and produced exhibitions, theatrical performances, and plays … and designed and invented stage props and entire stage sets that drew immense awe and admiration for their beauty and majesty, and also for the mechanics and movement that Leonardo engineered into the props and sets.

Leonardo planned and directed theatrical scenes and the movement of actors.

Show business started for Leonardo in 1482, when he was 30 years old and in the service of the court of Ludivico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.  Leonardo had just arrived at the court after he, in search of a commission and income, pitched Duke Sforza on his ability to engineer buildings, bridges, waterways, and machines of war.

It was curious that da Vinci emphasized to the duke his engineering skills, for while he was a talented carpenter, he had also shown exceptional abilities in painting, sculpture, metalwork, and crafting of leather.

That the duke hired Leonardo was almost certainly owed in major part to the strong recommendation of Lorenzo de’ Medici , the de facto ruler of Milan and a powerful and wealthy sponsor of artists and the arts. 

Duke Sforza was not envisioning putting Leonardo da Vinci to work, at least not right away or primarily, as an engineer.

He planned to employ Leonardo talents and energies in the theater and dramatic arts.

Duke Sforza assigned Leonarda da Vinci a grand title, one that history would only make more fitting: The Arbiter of all Questions Relating to Beauty and Elegance, Especially in Pageantry.

Leonardo’s “initial role at the court was not building weapons but conjuring up festivals and pageants,” Walter Isaacson explained his brilliant biography Leonardo da Vinci  (Simon & Schuster, 2018).

Mr. Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci is, as explained at the Simon & Schuster website, “Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work …. “

In his book, Mr. Isaacson gives considerable attention to Leonardo’s work with festivals and the dramatic arts.  This was work that Leonardo enjoyed and felt fulfilling, and also work that kept his patrons, Ludivico Sforza and Lorenzo de’ Medici, happy.

Actually, it is arguable that Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci revealed more and made more known about Leonardo’s work in and contributions to show business than has any single biographical treatment of the artist-inventor to date.

When talking about Leonardo’s development of dramatic special effects, Walter Isaacson invokes the images of the extravaganzas of light and sound and movement of Madonna and Lady Gaga performances.

On January 25, 2018, first broadcast was Leonardo da Vinci: Theater impresario, an episode of the Public Radio International (PRI) podcast series Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

In the podcast, Mr. Anderson talks with Walter Isaacson about Leonardo’s work in the theater, about his theater productions and creations, about what Mr. Anderson calls the “madcap show business part of da Vinci’s multifaceted genius life,” and how it influenced and improved his contributions in other disciplines.

“Kind of a day job for the painter of The Last Supper,” is how Mr. Anderson … mirthfully … describes Leonardo da Vinci’s work in the theater.  And of the link between that work and The Last Supper, Mr. Anderson then explains that “… it turns out that if Leonardo had never created those spectacles, the single most arresting visual aspect of that famous painting, the way that Jesus and his disciples are all one side of the table facing out, wouldn’t have been there.”

Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of a revolving stage

In the podcast, Mr. Isaacson says that The Last Supper is “done as a theatrical stage set.  It’s almost like, okay, everybody get on this side of the table if you want to be in the picture.  Well, the place you would do that is on a stage, where you’d tilt the table, and it’s angled.”  

Leonardo da Vinci and show business and events and spectacles paid the bills early on. 

Before da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Mona Lisa, his Vitruvian Man and Aerial Screw, his anatomical studies and drawings and revolving bridge, his influence was found and manifest in the theater.

 “You didn’t get paid to invent flying machines, you got paid to make props for the stage,” said Mr. Isaacson.  “It wasn’t just he did it for the money. He loved the theater and you just see all these drawings in his notebooks.  One of the first, thee first drawing, I think, Leonardo does is a silverpoint of … beautiful ornate helmets and costumes.  And then you realize, well that was done for a pageant for the visit of an important duke.”

Leonardo employed his genius and eye for design in creating costumes, and, also, along with his genius for engineering and mechanics, in the designing of stage props and sets.

Among Leonardo’s theatrical work at the court of Ludivico Sforza was directing a play La Festa del Paradiso (Feast of Paradise).  For this production, as Walter Isaacson explained, Leonardo built machines and devices that had “people coming up from Hades, and flying down” and the “earth opening up.”

“He loved having things like a stage that was two hemispheres, and it would turn around mechanically in the middle of the performance.”

In discussing Leonardo da Vinci’s work in show business, Mr. Isaacson corrects a long-held misconception.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Aerial Screw

“That helicopter; that famous drawing he has, it looks like an aerial screw, and everyone says it’s the first helicopter. What surprised me is when I looked in the notebooks, it was part of the props to bring angels down from the rafters in a play.”

Perhaps later in life, Leonardo may have considered how that aerial screw could be adapted and fashioned to fly. Actually, we are sure of it.

This is what Leonardo da Vinci did: he was multidisciplinary and multi-genius.

It must have been truly awe-inspiring and a privilege to witness a dramatic performance that Leonardo da Vinci helped create.  

Willwork Global Event Services hopes that the study, inquiry, and interest will grow in the ways that Leonardo da Vinci brought his genius to the performing arts – and … yes … to the business of exhibitions and events.

Happy Birthday, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – A Warrior for Civil Rights, Racial Equality, and the Dignity of Workers

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.(

Today the nation celebrates and honors the birthday of one history’s greatest and most noble warriors for human rights and social justice, and among its most powerful, effective, and unrelenting emissaries for peace.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA.  (In 1934, Michael King, Sr., a Baptist minister, had both his and his son’s name changed to Martin Luther.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. would give his life for the causes for which he battled and which he trumpeted.  He was felled by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.

Soon after Dr. King’s assassination, a movement to establish a federal holiday in his honor was launched.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation that created the national holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – often referred to as MLK Day – was first observed in 1986, even as it would not be until 2000 when all 50 states observed the holiday.  MLK Day is held every year on the third Monday of January, with that date chosen to reconcile closeness to Dr. King’s birthday and the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Dr. King’s life mission for human rights, for social justice, was often directly and deeply entwined in the rights of workers and in ensuring that workers were treated fairly and with respect, and were justly compensated for their labor.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services was, of course, founded as a labor company.  Yes, more than 30 years ago … in 1987 to be exact … we launched as an enterprise which provided one service exclusively: exhibit installation & dismantle (I&D) labor for tradeshows and events.

Today, we are national leading exhibition services and event management company – which still provides the highest quality exhibit I&D labor.  We are still very much, like we always have been, a labor company.  Labor is at our core.  Labor undergirds all that we do.

Willwork find immense satisfaction and fulfillment in that from coast to coast hundreds of skilled laborers make a very good and secure living with our company.

Willwork values tremendously our workers – who, collectively, form a workforce rich in diversity – and the exceptional effort they deliver to our clients day after day, job after job, project after project.

Willwork is committed to providing our hardworking and talented laborers with opportunity and education and career development.

Willwork surely esteems highly MLK’s mission in life – a mission a major component of which was dedicated to standing up for the laborer.  It was a heroic mission – for Dr. King fully understood that in continuing to do his work and pursue his mission he was putting his life at risk.

Memphis sanitation workers on strike, March 28, 1968 (image credit: Richard Copley)

All too often something that gets lost in the discussion of the life of Dr. King, and of his accomplishments, is the reason that he was in Memphis on that fateful April day in 1968.  He was there to support the city’s African-American sanitation workers who were striking to obtain fair and safe working conditions.

In Memphis, the night before he was murdered, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to sanitation workers assembled in Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ).  This speech is famously remembered as MLK’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop Speech.”  If you click here you will be taken to a page at the website of American Rhetoric where you will find the complete text and an audio-recording of Dr. King’s speech.

(The header image of this post is of Dr. King delivering the speech to the sanitation workers.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded the speech – the last speech of his life – with this haunting and prophetic passage:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

“And so I’m happy, tonight.

“I’m not worried about anything.

“I’m not fearing any man!”

Debate resounds, and is energetic and active in America, about just where does our republic stand, how far along are we, on the journey to arriving at the “Promised Land” that MLK described and envisioned.

Yet we dare say that The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in America.

He believed that if we dug deep, if we worked hard, if we were honest with ourselves, and if we were courageous, then the U.S. will arrive at the Promised Land.

America has it in us.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Two Willwork Clients – IBM and Kronos – Join Their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platforms to Create One of the Most Empowering Talent Management Systems for 2019 … and Beyond

(Image credit: TrendWatching Pulse)

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Here in the new year, 2019, we have entered our 32nd year in business.

It is the privilege and good fortune of Willwork to count as our valued clients, companies and other organizations across just about all business and commerce sectors. Our clients include some of the largest, most successful, and most established multinationals … and small, recently launched enterprises that you probably have not heard of … but you will, just please give it a little time.

All Willwork clients receive our same uncompromising excellence in service and attention.

For this early-in-the-new-year post, we felt it appropriate to highlight and feature a recently-started collaboration of two Willwork clients.  It is a collaboration that represents one of the most exciting and empowering commercial uses today of artificial intelligence (AI)  – the next great and transformative dimension in computing and machine intelligence.

IBM and Kronos are the collaborating Willwork clients.

IBM is synonymous worldwide with computing and information technology.  Founded in 1911, it employs 380,000 and serves 177 countries.  Over the years, its employees have been awarded five Nobel Prizes, five National Medals of Science (USA), five National Medals of Science and Innovation (USA), and six A.M. Turing Awards.

Nicknamed Big Blue, IBM pioneered AI and performs the most advanced work in the field.

Kronos, among its fellow international technology leaders, is a relative baby, having been founded in 1977.  It is also the world’s premier developer of workforce and human capital management software and services.  Kronos employees 5,300.

The IBM-Kronos collaboration – announced on November 4 of last year – joins the AI-powered solutions of IBM Watson Talent with Kronos’s Workforce Dimensions to help companies best manage talent and human resources.

IBM Watson Talent is powered by IBM’s famed Watson, the smartest AI computing and machine-learning system on the planet.

Workforce Dimensions is built on Kronos D5™,  the vanguard for intelligent cloud-based HR computing platforms.

As stated in a Kronos media announcement, the IBM-Kronos “collaboration will help improve the engagement, performance, career development, and retention of hourly workers and simplify the complex task of managing this important segment of the global workforce.”

Please click here be taken to the full announcement.

Beyond this project being a cooperative effort of Willwork clients, we are also keenly interested in the project because hourly workers are a large segment of the Willwork workforce and business.

Expect the IBM-Kronos collaboration to deliver winning and major results on a regular basis.

Willwork will report and provide updates in this space on the results of the collaboration– and how the teamwork of IBM and Kronos are empowering and enabling organizations to optimize and make most efficient their talent management and HR operations.

 

 

 

 

More Record-Breaking and Inspiration for the Holidays and Christmas Season

Chef Alain Rpby measures his creation: the world’s largest  candy cane (image credit: Heron PR)

We are following up on, and continuing the theme of, noteworthy and grand and large festive and holiday and Christmas-themed events and decorations.

In this space, on December 19, we published the post, “Christmas Trees That Are Major Exhibitions and Statements.”.

Four years ago, on Christmas Eve, we published here the post “Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Does a Cal Out to Impressive and Awesome Holiday Displays and Events.”

We had to share today a link to a story, “The largest Christmas dinner to the oldest tree: 15 Guinness world records with a festive theme,” published on December 6 in the UK newspaper The Telegraph.  In the article, written by Wendy Douglas, among the record setters are “Most lights on a Christmas tree,” “Most snowmen built in one hour,” “Largest floating Christmas tree” – and world record we featured on our Facebook page last Thursday: “Largest group of carol singers.”

Hannukkah 2018 ran from December 2 through December 10. A central symbol to Hanukkah – the Jewish religious celebration which is also called “The Festival of Lights” – is the menorah.

What is the largest menorah on the planet?  Well, it seems that there is a tad of controversy surrounding the answer to that question.  For there are two groups that annually install a large and grand menorah with each saying its menorah holds the top spot.  One group installs its menorah in the New York City borough of Manhattan. One group installs its menorah in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

If you click here you will be transported to a story, “After a battle to be the ‘world’s largest,’ two NYC menorahs continue to spread light,” published on November 30 at 6sqft.  Alexandra Alex wrote the piece.

On to a discussion of the the world’s largest candy cane.

That would be the 51-foot monstrous confection that world-renowned and award-winning pastry chef Alain Roby created in December of 2012.  Now, here’s the thing, for Mr. Roby, the owner and proprietor of All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva, IL, that giant candy cane was the third sweet he made that earned a place in Guinness World Records.

Yes, Mr. Roby also holds records for constructing the tallest cooked sugar building and tallest chocolate sculpture.

Please click here to read a story, “Geneva chef makes world’s largest candy cane,” published in the Daily Herald Report on December 8, 2012.

Willwork hopes you have enjoyed the thought images and inspiration we have shared

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Trees That Are Major Exhibitions and Statements

Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree 1950 (image credit: C.R. Douglas)

Willwork Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

A major portion and component of the business we are in is installing and dismantling, erecting and setting up, taking down and putting away.  We perform these functions and these roles across projects and jobs the scope of which span from the installing and dismantling of a single 10’ x 10 exhibit, to the installing of all displays and fixtures in a shopping mall, to full-service general contracting for shows and conventions that cover floor space across multiple large halls and venues.

As appropriate, during the holiday season, across our social media presence, we feature posts and publish stories about events and displays and exhibitions that are holiday and festive themed.

On Christmas Eve 2014, we published here a post, “Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Does a Call Out to Impressive and Awesome U.S. Holiday Displays and Events.”

Now, for sure, there is considerable planning, industry, and effort committed to the putting up and erecting of a primary symbol of the season: the Christmas tree.

A lot of money is shelled out around the world for Christmas trees – whether natural or artificial – that decorate and hold a place of honor in our homes. Residential Christmas trees are big business.

And, of course, whether to have an artificial or natural tree is a long-debated matter.

On November 20, Popular Mechanics published a story, “The 7 Best Artificial Christmas Trees: All the joys of the holidays, with none of the mess.”  Popular Mechanics is very sensitive to budgets in its selection, with the most economical a six-foot hinged “pine” tree with stand from Best Choice Products that goes for $49.97, and the most expensive, a six-and-a-half-foot luxurious Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce that carries a price tag of $1,012.44.

The real-thing tree has been skyrocketing in price.  Please click here to be taken to a Fortune story, “Christmas Trees Are More Expensive This Year, Continuing Trend,” published on December 7, and written by Chris Morris.

Following is an excerpt from Fortune story:

“The National Christmas Tree Association said the cost of the evergreens are expected to increase 2% over last year’s average price of $64-$73. That’s on the heels of a 17% price spike from 2015-2017.

“The reasons vary, but it largely comes down to three things: the economy, bad weather, and farmers shifting to more lucrative crops … “

As for the installation and dismantle of residential Christmas trees, none should involve much difficulty.  But very frequently the procedure becomes an immensely involved task … a task that infringes on holiday merriment and joy … even if only briefly.

Then there are the Christmas trees of a corporate or institutional or municipal nature.

In our Christmas Eve 2014 post, which was referenced and linked to earlier in this post, we featured what just might be the best known and most iconic holiday season display in the United States: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  Every year, since 1933, there has been a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  The tree, which is almost always a Norway spruce, has ranged in height from, on the shortest end, about 60 feet, to the tallest, the 100-foot conifer erected in 1999.

What is the tallest natural Christmas tree ever set and installed in America?

Okay, the tallest real Christmas tree, as Guinness World Records informs us, was the 67.36-meter (221 feet) Douglas fir installed and decorated in December of 1950, in Seattle, WA, at Northgate Shopping Center, which had opened the previous May.

Yet something of a qualifier seems warranted in discussion of the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree of 1950.

Because, you see, the tree was something of a Frankenstein tree: all natural, but also modified and adulterated.

How the giant Christmas tree happened and came to be was tied to and revolving around the fact that the Northgate Shopping Center was a bit of a risky venture; it was a new form of shopping complex: a regional mall located in the  suburbs.  Jim Douglas, the president of the company that developed Northgate, forecast that the building of more roads and highways would encourage shoppers to venture beyond Main street of towns and the downtowns of cities.  Things were going to change, Mr. Douglas and other suburban shopping mall pioneers projected.

But major retailers were skittish about committing to and leasing space at Northgate Shopping Center.

Jim Douglass recognized that that first holiday and Christmas season was crunch time – do or die.  He thought and figured on different marketing draws, and arrived at the concept of putting up a monstrous … a gigantic …Christmas tree at the mall.

Douglas and associates went out into the forests of Washington and found a giant fir.  Yet, while it was giant in height, it was deficient in a bounty of branches and evergreen that spread wide like a skirt wrapping the tree, which is a characteristic of any good Christmas tree.   This paucity, which had to be rectified, owed to that the tree selected grew within a tight cluster 0f other firs, and this prevented the tree from growing and spreading its branches, especially in its lower region.

Transporting the tree was also presented a challenge to be solved.  Again, we are going back almost 70 years.  Trucking and rigging and transport were not what they are today.

What to do?  Well, the tree was felled and stripped of all its branches and became, basically, a pole that was a little more than 200 feet long.  Two trucks transported the pole to Northgate Shopping Center where it was raised and steadied with guide wires, and to which were affixed the branches that have been shorn from the tree, and also other fir tree branches that had been collected.  The tree was then adored with lights and other decorations.

And, wouldn’t you know, that Christmas tree did what it was supposed to do.  It brought sightseers and shoppers. Providing a big boost to drawing power of the Christmas tree was the media exposure it was accorded, including being the subject of a story in Life magazine, which at the time one of the most popular general interest publications in the world.

Northgate Shopping Center flourished.

Clicking here takes you a page at the site of the public radio station KNKX (Tacoma, WA) where you can find a short article on the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree, and a link to podcast of an interview (originally aired on KNKX on May 13, 2017) that Jennifer Wing, a producer at KNKX, conducted about the tree with C.R. Douglas, a cousin of Jim Douglas.  C.R. Douglas is a political analyst for the news broadcast of Channel Q13, the Fox TV affiliate in the Seattle and Spokane area.

What is the tallest artificial Christmas tree in history to date?

That would be the 238-foot tall structure in Colombo, Sri Lanka that was unveiled on Christmas Eve 2016, and which bested the previous record holder:  a 180-foot tower of lights, artificial foliage, lamps, and ornaments erected in Guangzhou, China in 2017.

The World’s Tallest Artificial Christmas Tree, in Colombo,           Sri Lanka (image credit: Anton)

Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree:

“The cone-shaped tree is a steel-and-wire frame made from scrap metal and wood, and covered by plastic netting. It is decorated with approximately one million natural pine cones painted gold, green, red and silver colors. It has 600,000 LED bulbs which illuminate the tree at night.  On the top of the tree there is a 20-foot (6.1 m) tall Christmas star with bulbs, weighing about 60 kg (130 lb). The tree cost Rs 12 million (about US$ 80,000).  The tree was constructed by 150 employees of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Ports and Shipping with support from other parties.”

Please click here to be taken to CBS News story about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services will publish here on Christmas Eve another post about noteworthy displays and exhibitions with holiday-season and festive themes.

Willwork wishes and extend to all – Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

 

Of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Santa Claus and Elves in Santa’s Workshop
(image credit: Heritage Puzzle Company)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, founded in 1987, is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

It is our privilege to work for, and provide services to, successful and innovative businesses that range in size, operational scope, and renown– from major multinationals with hundreds of thousands of employees … to small businesses, with fewer than 10 employees, and which primarily provide products or services to the local community.

And every Willwork client receives the same uncompromising excellence in service and responsiveness.

Willwork likes to use its social media network, and other communications vehicles, to express admiration for … and tout and herald … standout achievement in performance across all sectors of life – whether business, military and defense, sports, the arts, education, spiritual life, politics … you name it.

Willwork commits considerable time and resources to employee training and education – and we enlist and apply in our business the winning strategies and tactics we have observed working across many different segments of industry and society.

Observing and listening, asking questions, studying, and analyzing … helps us to learn what to do – and what not to do.

Here we are, now, in the first week of December, and in the home stretch and approaching “game time” are the efforts – ongoing for almost the entire year now – of an organization from which Willwork, and all businesses, can obtain value and benefit in studying.

We are talking about that amazing enterprise located at the North Pole: Santa’s Workshop, where elves, under the direction of Santa Claus, build and put together and fasten toys and other presents.

On Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning, the presents will be transported to good boys and girls around the world.  Providing the transport will be Santa Claus and his sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer; their names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

Sometimes the pulling team has nine reindeer.  You see, on the occasion of particularly bad weather, added to the team is a special reindeer – his name is Rudolph –  who possesses a nose that emits a powerful flood of red light that cuts through rain, fog, and snow … or any combination thereof … and illuminates the path ahead.

Just an incredibly efficient system of production, organization, and logistics.

Santa and his elves and flying reindeer have been performing like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS for centuries.

As for the elves.  In today’s post, we are featuring and giving major love and props to the elves. We are making sure that the elves receive the acclaim that they have earned.

Santa Claus approves.  Believe us.

And, for sure, Santa Claus cares deeply about his elves – and the entire workshop operation.

Consider this excerpt from a post, “Protecting Santa’s Elves,” published on December 5, 2013 in Risk Conversation, a blog of the global property and casualty insurance giant Chubb:

“Santa is serious about risk management and has assigned one of his elves the task of safety director. The safety director has developed a regular inspection program to insure that all the elves are wearing proper hearing protection, that all walkways and parking lots are properly cleared of snow, and that the workshop meets all the North Poles fire codes.”

Santa Claus is thorough about risk management.  For example, as also explained in the “Protecting Santa’s Elves” post:  “When elves are on the road, Santa has foreign voluntary workers compensation to help compensate the elves if they are injured or become ill during their work abroad.”

Smart and accomplished business minds recognize the winning practices of Santa – and his elves.

Among those business minds is Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director for the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (SBDC), and an international business management consultant who has advised Fortune 500 companies.

Dr. Geist writes a blog called Speaking of Business, for OCALA.com.   On December 18, 2017, the post, “Santa and the Elves,” was published at the Speaking of Business blog.

“No, it’s not a new rock group,” writes Dr. Geist.  “Santa and the Elves are successful entrepreneurs who employ good management practices to have an effective business model. Let’s take a closer look at some of those practices.”

Here’s what Dr. Geist has to say about Santa and his elves and intellectual property:

“Santa and the Elves have several trade secrets, as closely held as the Coca-Cola recipe.  These include the ability to deliver world-wide in one night, and the ability to enter buildings unseen to deliver presents whether a chimney is present or not. By keeping these as trade secrets, Santa and the Elves have no competition. Your business must protect those intellectual property assets that make it unique, either by copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret. In many businesses their intellectual property is the largest asset, protecting it will limit or eliminate competition.”

 Santa’s elves have long been hip and totally up-to-date on smartly using best-in-class technology to make processes more efficient and productive.

Matthew Anderson, a veteran technical solutions professional, wrote about his business trip to the North Pole and a meeting he had with Santa’s Chief of Elf Operations (CEO).

Mr. Anderson now works for Microsoft.  But it was two years ago, when he was in the  employ of Hitachi Solutions, that he wrote a post for a Hitachi blog about how Santa’s CEO was using the business management software Dynamics 365, a Microsoft product.  (As is the case today, Hitachi and Microsoft are strategic business partners.)

Here is the first paragraph of Mr. Anderson’s post, “Dynamics 365 Lets Elves Visualize and Automate their North Pole Processes”:

“I travel a lot in my role at Hitachi Solutions. During a recent visit to the North Pole, I checked in with Santa’s CEO (Chief of Elf Operations) to catch up. While she is under NDA and couldn’t disclose anything from Santa’s naughty/nice list, I was able to get some feedback on how her team uses the new visual process editor in Dynamics 365 to keep things running smoothly in the workshop. Why is she so excited?”

To find out why the Chief of Elf Operations was so excited please click here to be taken to the full post (which gets a bit technical).

Perhaps the most important aspect and element that supports the elves business success is that they like what they do, and that they work in a supportive and happy environment and culture.

All businesses can benefit from happy employees.

That is the contention Susan M. Heathfield, a management consultant  specializing in human resources and management development, who is frequently quoted in business media stories. Among the outlets that have quoted Ms. Heathfield are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Forbes.

Ms. Heathfield wrote a post, “Happy Employees Are More Productive in an Elf-Friendly Workplace,” that was published on December 15 of last year on the blog of the award-winning and popular career website, The Balance Careers, for which she writes regularly.

“Workplaces that emulate Santa’s workshop resonate with excitement, engagement, positive employee morale, and employee motivation,” writes Ms. Heathfield.  “Happy employees are more productive, too.”

The subtitle of Ms. Heathfield’s post is “10 Reasons Why Employees Are Happy and Engaged in an Elf-Friendly Workplace.”

If you click here you will be taken to the complete post where you can read up on those 10 reasons.

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Happy and productive as Santa’s Elves.

Willwork submits that this is a preferred way to live – and a preferred way to work and do business.

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

 

 

Into the Holiday Season … of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, and Gratitude

1918 U.S. Food Administration poster urging food conservation (image credit: Library of Congress)

In this space, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services talks about and features news from the tradeshow and events industry.  We especially like to tout and herald good news about our clients.

We also use the Insights blog as a place to talk about history and current events and holidays.  Here we sometimes make mention and tout what is most important about the human condition.  Here we herald people doing noble and virtuous work.

And, overall, and broadly, on Insights, we either directly discuss our industry … or we tie, let’s say, indirectly, the history, the current events, the holidays … and noble and virtuous people … to our business and the work we do.

For example, please click here to be taken to this year’s Memorial Day post, and here to be transported to last year’s Thanksgiving post; and clicking here will bring you our 2016 Veterans Day post.

It is also fairly certain that if a subject or event or topic or anniversary is important then there is an exhibition dedicated to the subject, the event, the topic, or the anniversary.  On Insights, we feature the exhibitions.

Willwork is in the exhibition and exhibit business.

Today, the day prior to Thanksgiving 2018, Willwork submits for consideration a remembrance, and encourages a reflection, on an important centennial – of November and 1918.  Of the armistice that ended the Great War, and which took effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and of a disease that still raged throughout the planet as the guns fell silent, and would continue to do so for another year.

That war, which today is most commonly referred to as World War I, was a true global engagement waged by nations and vast empires, on land and at sea.  As well, the war was the first involving large-scale use of aircraft.

The conflict directly killed 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians.

This was also the conflict that was widely and improvidently … and hauntingly … proclaimed to be the War to End All Wars.

Willwork Exhibition & Event Services recommends, for memory and honoring and education, the award-winning National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO.  Among the present exhibitions at the National World War I Museum and Memorial – which houses the world’s largest collection of World War I artifacts – are Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918, and War Around Us: Soldier Artist Impressions.

During the period of the Great War, massive mobilization of troops across vast distances contributed to the rapid spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the pathogen that wreaked catastrophe in the form of what is popularly known as the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic, which actually lasted from 1918 through 1920.

As many as 500 million worldwide were infected with the virus, and anywhere from 50 to 100 million died (which was then about three to five percent of the world’s population), making the epidemic the deadliest natural disaster in history, and a bigger killer than World War I and World War II combined.

There have been, especially in this centenary year, several physical and digital 1918 Spanish Flu exhibitions sponsored by museums and colleges and universities.  One now open, at the Richard E. Bjork Library at Stockton University in New Jersey, is “A Century Later: The Spanish Flu in New Jersey.”  Curator and developer of the exhibition is Brendan Honick, a junior at Stockton University.

Please click here to read a story, published yesterday, that features Mr. Honick’s exhibition.

Perhaps, now, the reader may have had enough of a quotient of death and gloom.

Especially, really, all of this on the cusp of the holiday season.

Well, the fact is, we want to put things in perspective.   We want to encourage some thinking about just how good things are in the United States – our flawed and imperfect republic.  Yes, for sure, America … this America … we are beset with mistakes, sins, and injustice.

And we … America … are also far and away the greatest nation on earth.  No country offers more opportunity – and no country does a better job protecting the rights to which all humans are heir at the moment of their birth.

Willwork – a company with offices in major metropolitan areas across this nation, and which works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the U.S. – knows well this United States of America.

We dare say that, on the whole … and far and away … that on this Thanksgiving, an expression of gratitude is in order from the populace.  We should think about and consider what is right and good, and not allow cynicism to steer us in to wallowing and setting anchor in the swirl and festering pool of what is wrong.

Again, perspective.

On Monday, the Pantagraph, a daily newspaper that covers central Illinois, published an installment in its series, A Page From Our Past (PFOP), a section in which the newspaper looks at significant and important historic events and episodes that took place in the Pantagraph coverage area, and inserts into the story excerpts from Pantagraph articles that covered those events, those episodes, as they happened.

The PFOP choice for November 19, 2018 was wholly appropriate.

Here are some selections from, “PFOP: Profound gratitude, relief marked Thanksgiving 1918,” by Bill Kemp:

“Was there ever a more thankful Thanksgiving than the one held Nov. 28, 1918, which came fast on the heels of the one-two punch represented by the end of World War I and the arrival of the great influenza pandemic? ….

“ …. Never in the history of the world has there been greater rejoicing and for a more earnest expression of thanks than at this time, following four years of bloody warfare,” declared The Pantagraph on the occasion of Thanksgiving 1918 ….

“ …. The armistice took effect on Nov. 11, 1918 — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” The news from Europe reached Bloomington at 1:50 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 12. By 3:00 a.m., downtown Bloomington was packed with raucous residents of every age, race and class ….

“ …. It was a muted Thanksgiving at the Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home (later known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School) in north Normal, what with more than 100 children still sick with the influenza. Those with an appetite enjoyed a chicken dinner, oysters, and other “eatables and treats” thanks in part to a last-minute gift of $75 by the local grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow … ”

Amid the pain and suffering, people performed at their best, and found occasion for thanks … and for optimism.

Would more of our joined and collaborative societal conduct be of this noble nature.

Willwork wishes everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and JOYOUS LAUNCH of the HOLIDAY SEASON!!

Among the Biggest and Happiest and Most Fun Events …. as Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Will Tell You … Are Those Held for Championship Sports Teams

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.  Some of the exhibitions and events we service and handle are corporate parties.  We admire parties that are well-planned and well-orchestrated, whether they are big parties, small parties, or midsize parties.

Among the best parties on earth are those that cities and metropolitan areas hold to honor and celebrate the championships of their professional sports teams.  These parties can be quite big, attracting a million, or two million, even three million or more.

On Wednesday of last week,  Halloween, New England honored and celebrated the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series.   It did so with what is now – and has been since 2002 – a quintessential regional party:  a “rolling rally” duck boat parade through the streets of Boston.

The “Sox” beat the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven-game series.  Now, while, of course, the Willwork corporate headquarters is located in the Boston suburbs, we also have a busy and thriving Los Angeles operation.  The recent World Series result was going to be, for Willwork employees and its contract laborers, occasion for smiles and moping no matter what team won.

And this year it was the Red Sox.

How many were on hand for the victory bash last week?  Smart estimates place the number of revelers in the one-million range.

The inaugural Boston duck boat parade (which is, remember, also a rally) was held in 2002 to celebrate the New England Patriots franchise winning its first Super Bowl.  About a million revelers attended the event.

It was the first of 11 duck boat parades in the city: five for the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017), four for the Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013, 2018), and one each for the Boston Bruins (2011) and Boston Celtics (2008).  It’s been a nice era for New England professional sports fans.

Of all the duck boat parades, the one that drew the largest attendance – three million – was the parade held for the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the team that ended the 86-year Red Sox championship drought.  That’s a lot of people.

Then, again, it makes sense, the crowd size.  Really.  You wait that long … and over that five-decade wait, the Sox won four American League pennants, yet lost in seven games in all four World Series.  (And we need not rehash Game 6 of the 1986 World Series which Boston, leading the New York Mets in the series, 3-2, had won – but then it hadn’t.)

The 2004 Red Sox parade scored the second biggest crowd to date for a sports championship party,

What party holds to the top spot in the category of highest attendance for a sports championship party?

That would be the rally and parade held for the 2016 Chicago CubsThe estimated crowd size was five million.

Rally and Parade for 2016 Chicago Cubs, World Series Champion (image credit: WGN9 TV)

What was the big deal about the Chicago Cubs win?  Well, you see, Chicago loves its “Cubbies,” a franchise founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings.  And, like the Red Sox, the Cubs play in a hallowed and iconic place – Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914.  Only Fenway Park, which hosted its first game in 1912, is an older MLB park.

There is also the condition of millions of people holding affection for a long time for a team that didn’t win for a long time.  The Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series for a long time.

Chicago’s seven-game World Series win over the Cleveland Indians ended the longest North American professional sports team championship drought in history: 108 years.  In fact, prior to the 2016 season, the Cubs had not won a National League pennant in 71 years, which was an MLB pennant drought record.

People in the Chicago area wanted to party.  A lot of people in the Chicago area wanted to party. And they did.

Curiously, if the Indians had won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, you could count that at least a million, maybe more, would have shown up for that championship parade.  After all, on June 22, 2016, one million people showed up to fete the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers  – a turnout that, according to Wikipedia, made the crowd the sixth largest sports celebration ever.

The Cleveland Indians have their own long streak of futility, not having won a World Series since 1948, which, as the 2016 “Fall Classic” began, was the second longest time in the MLB desert without a championship.  (Although, prior to 2016, Cleveland’s most recent American League pennant win was 1997.)  Played up in the press was the fact that the meeting of the Cubs and Indians in the World Series was a MLB record-setter for most combined number of years of a championship drought:  176.

Cleveland had known a long championship-barren era.

In fact, when the Cavaliers, and LeBron James, beat the Golden State Warriors heir 2016 title, it ended 52 consecutive years that Cleveland had not won a major professional championship – the NFL title that the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 (its fourth in the 15 years it had been in the league).

To get back to Chicago – actually the broader Chicago area – for a bit, we restate that it is a region and place that holds and nurtures a fervent following for its sports teams.  A crowd of two million attended the rally/parade celebrating the Chicago Black Hawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

And Willwork makes sure to mention here that our Chicago operation has long been highly successful, and enjoys strong and consistent growth.

Then, again, Willwork maintains offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Across the country, we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.

It is likely that wherever is the next big celebration for a pro sports championship, Willwork has an office close by … as will be the case for the following celebration … and the one after that … and the … anyway, you know what we are saying.

America loves to win.  America loves to party.

And here we reference the words written by journalist W.F. Deeds, in 1999, about the high level of intensity and fervor and joy that Americans displayed that year during the final stages, and in the aftermath of, the U.S. team beating the European squad in the Ryder Cup international golf tournament played at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.

Many on the other side of the Atlantic felt that the nature and character of the celebrating, of players and fans, was inappropriate and crass and over the top.   But not Mr. Deedes, the former editor of the Telegraph newspaper of London.  He wrote:

“I found myself feeling faintly jealous of America’s capacity for emotion. We shrug our shoulders a lot. They really care. They want to win. They hate to lose. And this carries them beyond a golf game at Brookline.”

Yes, America loves to win   America loves to party.

And there will never be a shortage of Americans showing up to be a part of both.

 

 

 

The 2018 World Series. Two Classic and Storied Teams. Two Classic and Storied Ballparks

Fenway Park, Opening of 2013 World Series (image credit: United States Air Force)

A fundamental component of the business of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is structures and design and architecture. A big part of what we do involves installing and dismantling exhibits and displays – some that are temporary, some that are permanent.

Willwork appreciates beauty and functionality in design.  We have a soft spot for both the new and different and even odd in form and arrangement – and for the antique and vintage and classic.

And this brings us to the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series pitting the American League champion Boston Red Sox against the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Both franchises are among the most iconic and storied in sports.

Dodger Stadium in 2006 (image credit: Junkyardsparkle)

Both franchises call home a facility that also holds high rank for iconic and storied.

A lot of history in this World Series.

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In 1901, the American League (AL) was created.  One of the charter teams was the Boston Americans, which would become the Boston Red Sox in 1908.

The LA Dodgers have even a longer history, going back to 1884 and the city of Brooklyn (which would not become part of New York City until 1898), and the launch of a baseball club called the Brooklyn Atlantics. The Atlantics were one of the founding teams of the National League (NL).

Fenway Park opened in Boston in 1912 – and since 1912, Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox.

The Brooklyn Dodgers began play in 1932.  From their first game until the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles at the end of the 1956 season, the team’s home park was Ebbets Field, which had been completed in 1913.

When the Brooklyn Dodgers left New York City and Ebbets Field, and arrived in Hollywood, their home field for a year was Roosevelt Park; the team then played for two seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

For the start of the 1962 season, the Dodgers took residence in the newly-built Dodger Stadium.   And there the Dodgers remain.

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Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball field.  It is peculiar and special.

“Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” wrote the novelist and essayist John Updike.  “Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter Egg.”

Dodger Stadium is the third oldest Major League Park (the second oldest is Chicago’s Wrigley Field, opened in 1914), and the oldest west of the Mississippi.

As explained in the Wikipedia entry on Dodger Stadium, the park “was one of the last baseball-only facilities built before the dawn of the multi-purpose stadium.”

While Dodger Stadium has undergone considerable renovation through the years, it is still very much a classic American baseball stadium.

Home-improvement brand powerhouse and guru Bob Vila published on his site an article,   “10 Iconic Baseball Stadiums Its Worth a Roadtrip to See.”   Mr. Villa has included Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium in the piece.

Mr. Vila notes that Fenway Park’s “quirks’ include “’The Triangle’ and the Green Monster, sections of the outfield walls so unusual they sport their own nicknames.”

“Dodger Stadium’s architecture is modern in its simplicity,” writes Mr. Vila. “The style helps keep all eyes on the game.”

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For sure, this is a World Series played by classic and vintage franchises, and played in classic and vintage spaces.

It is all good for baseball – and for all of us who are enthralled and caught up in the majesty and drama of the World Series, no matter for which team we are rooting.