Many of the wonderful things produced during this summer like no other have come from one very special person: Lindsey West.
Lindsey began working with the museum last summer, sharing her talent as a Ghost Walk guide for the 2019 season. Shortly after we thanked her for helping make our Ghost Walk season a success, she began her undergraduate journey at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The task this summer wasn’t easy. The COVID 19 crisis brought unimagined challenges as the museum would attempt to reopen to visitors while concurrently creating new, engaging content for the growing online audience.
As a Mass Communications Major studying broadcast journalism, Lindsey was well prepared to help the museum expand its online presence and reboot our social media outreach.
In one very short summer season Lindsey helped us take three major programming steps:
Step One: Make the Women in Surf Rescue online exhibit idea a reality.
While creating more online exhibits in response to the times, we developed Women in Surf Rescue. When we handed Miss West the exhibit keys, it was still in the nascent stage of design. The celebration of female lifeguards now has over 25 participants, with women lifeguards from the US, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland. When you visit the exhibit online, you are enjoying Lindsey‘s web design and careful curation of lifeguards’ photos, stories, and even vlogs. She’s also responsible for the bulk of the accompanying social media work.
We will continue with her template as the exhibit grows through the coming fall and winter.
Lindsey West edits an episode of Friday Night Frights
Step Two: Reimagine Ghost Walks into Friday Night Frights.
Because of the important safety guidelines of social distancing, the museum couldn’t offer our very popular Ghost Walks this summer. We decided to share our historic haunted tales online. Creating an entirely new video format was daunting, as was the organization of the stories into smaller, camera based presentations. If that wasn’t hard enough, we all decided to produce a new video each week. Lindsey
took it upon herself to be the director and editor. Check out the Friday Night Frights
series on the webpage or our YouTube
channel. Watch the Witch of Pungo
episode to enjoy Lindsey’s story telling talent.
Step Three: Improve the museum’s social media impact.
With no advertising budget to drive our numbers, the museum’s social media success comes from hard work and consistency. With new features, videos, and emphasizing our #ThisCoolMuseum
message of how unique our wonderful institution truly is; our social media impressions have doubled this summer. Her Fourth of July
project is a shining example of why. She has a rare talent that melds playful creative vision with something much deeper to say.
Lindsey‘s most important contribution, though, can’t be quantified.
Imagine stepping into a brand new new role, a role you know is short-term, in the middle of a global pandemic.
Thank You, Lindsey
Add the enormous stress of not knowing if you’re going to be able to go back to school in August. Even her very short term future was a blur.
Lindsey West did just that. And did it with so much heart, so much humor, and so much positivity that by summer’s end we all felt that anything was possible.
She heads back to VCU now and most certainly bigger and brighter things are ahead as her education and career take shape. All of us wish this exceptional woman only the best. She deserves nothing less. We will miss her a great deal.
We will never forget the summer of 2020. We will forever remember how horribly stressful, how extremely difficult, how terribly disheartening the COVID-19 crisis has been to the oceanfront, to the institution, to all of us personally and professionally. But we will also remember how we pulled together, worked together, created together, and laughed together to get through these very hard times with our spirits stronger than ever.
And in future years, when we reminisce in the office about the summer like no other, I’ll be the first to speak up;
“Lindsey West. The best thing about that summer was Lindsey West.”