Sometimes there is not a whole lot of newsiness to a topic, its just plain interesting. So when someone told me about the Macon County Historical Society’s new museum I was definitely hooked, but it wasn’t newsy. The museum itself is interesting, but the building is what captured my attention. It began as a military academy that was known as the “Westpoint of the Midwest.” Some guy from overseas came to Mid-Missouri and decided he wanted a military academy. He bought a ton of land and just built himself basically his own mini-town within Macon, MO. All his family history with that is interesting but what is more, is that the building was transformed into an insane asylum! The first osteopathic sanitarium in the world! Going down and seeing the cells with the prison-like doors in the basement was kind of freaky but really cool at the same time. There was one cell where the patient had scratched on the wall a bird, swastikas, and other war signs. So weird to think that someone was basically caged up in there and going insane and scratching violent things all over the wall. It gave me chills, still does.
There was sooo much interesting stuff happening there. (You can read more about it in my web story.) So my challenge was to present all that interesting stuff in just one minute, which is harder than it sounds. Also I struggled with the newsy factor. I played off of it being Memorial Day coming up and honoring that.
I think the story would have been better if I would have humanized it around Merlyn who had such a close tie to Macon’s history and such a passion for it. I should have done more of an interview as I was getting the tour by her. I tried to make the building my central compelling character (CCC) but in hindsight I think that a better approach was to make Merlyn the CCC. Next time I will Macon it happen… a little bit better.