What to know / What to bring

TRAVEL: Just a reminder, we’re happy to pick up people from the Evansville airport for free but you need to send us your flight/bus info and phone number. There may be a wait time depending on the final schedule so you may need to dig into some reading at the airport for a couple minutes. For those driving, here’s an address to plug into your maps: 504 North Street New Harmony, IN 47631. This is actually for The New Harmony Inn but the Barn Abbey is just a couple blocks east.

ARRIVAL TIME: The first Summer Forum event is dinner at 6 pm at the Barn Abbey on Saturday, July 21. We would love for everyone to be there by then but you are welcome to get there earlier in the day as well.

HOUSING: Most of you are staying in the Barn Abbey, which is a two-story dorm-like building that houses 29 people. It is a well-cared for building that is owned by the Blaffer Foundation – its original designation is as a Christian center so you’ll notice some religious iconography – but lots of different organizations use it for events and conferences. There is electricity and AC but no internet. Most of the rooms have one set of bunk beds. We assigned you a room if you did not specifically request a roommate; you’ll receive all that info upon arrival. They provide bed and bath linens at the Barn Abbey but you are also welcome to bring your own. There are soap dispensers in the bathrooms but you will probably want to bring all your own toiletries. As far as bathrooms go, the men’s bathrooms have one toilet, one urinal and a shower. The women’s bathrooms have 2-3 toilets and a shower. Those numbers should be a signal to you to think about this experience like indoor camping. You will probably not have the opportunity to maintain your normal hygienic routines, so please exercise patience during the week.

EATING/KITCHEN/DISHES: We’ll provide dinner on Saturday the 21st, three meals a day Sunday through Friday, and breakfast on Saturday the 28th. Our kitchen staff consists of the amazing Brandon Hinman and Ryan Hammer. While they are indeed amazing, we will need help especially with dish washing to make this all work. Brandon asked that three people volunteer each day to help with all three meals. You’ll end up taking 30 minutes out of both your lunch and dinner and we’ll schedule a thirty minute period during the morning. So we need at least fifteen of you to volunteer for these roles. We’ll have a signup sheet down in New Harmony but feel free to email me in advance and let me know that you’d like to volunteer. If this system doesn’t work, we’ll revise during the week.

SCHEDULE: The complete schedule is here for your reference. A couple things are new: we’ll be doing a huge group tour of New Harmony on Sunday at 9:30 am, led by Connie Weinzapfel, Summer Forum resident and Director of Historic New Harmony. The tour costs $5 but you’re supporting a lovely foundation and they are the reason why we’re able to host events at the Atheneum. AND, Historic New Harmony is hosting an event for Summer Forum at the Atheneum on Sunday night, after Timothy McCarthy’s talk. Finally, Friday night we’re going to throw together something low key. Angela James is coming down from Chicago to play for us and Matt Joynt is djing the rest of the night.

INTERNET: There is no internet connection at the Barn Abbey but it is available in many of the other buildings, so daytime connections shouldn’t be hard to find. We are going to try to provide after-hours internet access at the Orchard House but we cannot guarantee that at this point. If you know you will need a regular internet connection, we recommend looking into some kind of mobile wifi device, but make sure that service is available in New Harmony.

THE GRANARY: We have reserved the Rapp-Owen Granary Monday through Friday, from 8 am – 12 pm each day. It is a big, bright, open space with internet. The first floor is available for general use from 8-12. The second floor is available from 8-10 for general use, and then resident presentations will take place in there from 10-12 pm. Use it!

PRESENTATIONS: We’ve heard from a number of you about presentations so that’s great. We’ll have a schedule of these available upon arrival in New Harmony. You will be able to sign up for a time during the week if you haven’t already. There should be a projector available during the week but the room may be a little bright for screening, so have some kind of backup prepared. Christy LeMaster, one of the Summer Forum residents, is taking a video portrait for her morning presentation and is asking for resident participation that comes with a packing list. Read more about it here and bring the requested items with you. It should be really awesome and it would be great to have as many people involved as possible.

FILMS: We’ll have the three films available on DVD in New Harmony. You are welcome to screen these at your leisure individually or in groups.

FIRE BAN: Apparently it hasn’t rained in New Harmony for over two months. It is very dry down there and they have instituted a fire ban for now. We’ll know more details about this, but that will probably mean no open fires and such.

WHAT TO BRING (AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF SUGGESTIONS): the readings, bug spray, sunscreen, flashlight, bathing suit, water bottle, coffee mug, toiletries, fun things for groups.

INVITED GUESTS: Many of the invited guests will be around New Harmony for a couple days, beyond their evening presentations. Some may be available in the mornings, others may be present during the discussions. Feel free to reach out to them in New Harmony for a chat if you’re interested.

NEW HARMONY: New Harmony is tiny but there is a well-established downtown within walking distance with restaurants, galleries, a bar, coffeeshop, etc. There is also the possibility of canoeing and there is a state park nearby. I’ll provide a more complete list upon arrival.