An interview with Edmund La Clair

MCCC’s Assistant Professor of History Edmund La Clair is a very busy man.

He routinely works with five different organizations involved with historical affairs and is the Vice President of the Friends of the Monroe County Historical Museum. He’s on the board of trustees for the Monroe County Labor Museum. He contributes to the One Book One Community project. He does all of this and still has time to give advice to students about their research papers.

“It’s often difficult to figure out which hat I’m wearing at a particular situation” joked La Clair. “It’s caused confusion sometimes.”

This is La Clair’s second semester as a full time faculty member, before that he worked as an adjunct instructor. Two of the bigger projects he’s currently working on are a Fermi 1 exhibit in MCCC’s Career Technology Center and looking for ways to raise funds to keep the Monroe County Historical Museum open for another ten years.

The Fermi 1 exhibit on campus is in the planning stages, but several ideas have come up. Besides the typical museum exhibits and artifacts, there has been discussion about relocating actual statuary from Fermi 1 as well as interactive exhibits, including one that simulates a nuclear incident.

“A few of the chemistry, engineer, and computer science professors have talked about creating a student center area with an interactive display where you can sit down at a mock nuclear control panel, and control during a meltdown” said La Clair. “We thought it might be interesting for students to have to try to figure out how to react to that.”

Keeping the Monroe County Historical Museum open has been another major project for La Clair. He talked at length about dealing with the various groups involved and the confusion many people have about who is and who should be involved in running the museum.

“It’s really sometimes tough to navigate all these different opinions on what we need to do to preserve our history, which everyone wants to do, but not everyone understands or agrees how we’re going to go about doing it” said La Clair.

La Clair is also a member of a non-profit organization that is placing a proposal on the August primary ballot. The proposal calls for a millage increase to pay for the museum. If successful, La Clair says it could fund the museum for ten years.