(revised September 1, 2010)
Auctions are regularly held at the homes of elderly people who have died, moved into a nursing home, or otherwise decided to leave the place they have lived for many years. Generally the auctions take place at the home, although in bad weather and in some circumstances auctions take place at auctioneers' places of business. For this project, you want to go to one of the auctions that take place at a home in a community within fifty miles of Lewisburg.
Generally, auctions go on for most of the day. They start about 9 or 10 in the morning and end about 3 in the afternoon. Everything in the house is auctioned off from salt and pepper shakers up to the building itself. Auctioneers call out the items being sold and they have a staff of people who organize the materials, bring them up for the auctioneer, who keep track of who bids for items, and who collect payments. Usually there is a food booth run by local church women.
In general, your auction will be more interesting if you find a remote small town. However, some auctions are held in Lewisburg and other nearby towns and they are easier to reach for students who do not have transportation.
Although auctions are advertised in local newspapers on Thursdays and you often will see handbills advertising auctions posted in town or in local stores, the easiest way to find local auctions is to use the Auction Zip website.
To use the Auction Zip website, enter the Lewisburg Zip Code (17837), select the radius distance you prefer (30 miles is the default distance and that makes sense, although the system is not very accurate in terms of determining distances), and choose the type of auction you want to search for. Choose the one that is for antiques and housewares since this is most likely to give you a listing of the farm auctions that are the focus of this assignment.
As you look through auction listings, be aware that there are many types of auctions and many of them are not relevant to our purposes (farm equipment auctions aren't for us, for example). Also, AVOID AUCTIONS HELD AT AUCTION HOUSES. Some of these, actually, are very good for our purposes. Most of them, however, take objects from the original homestead, bring them to a central location far from the owner's home community, and set up sales intended mainly for professionals. Since our intention is to use auctions to see community in action it does not fit the assignment simply to visit an auction in an auction house.
Picking an appropriate auction and making an effort to travel to an interesting place is part of the assignment. If you pick an auction simply because it seems easy to reach or seems to be not threatening, the result will show up in your writing. Your grade may well be lowered if your selection of an auction shows either that you have not put in much effort or you have not read the directions provided here.