I am Alexa recent graduate of a B.A in Anthropology and Classical Civilizations from Arizona State University. This summer I have the privilege of interning at the San Francisco Maritime Museum.
It has been a really fun first two weeks! I got to captain two historic boats out on the San Francisco Bay! One thing that I noticed is how excited people on the shore and on other boats get when they see these beautiful old boats.
Also, the views of the city while on the water are absolutely incredible.
But, even though I get to go on these incredible sails the day to day life down on Hyde Street Pier is a bit different. Most of the boats we work on live in the collection or are being repaired at the small boats shop. It could be anything from repainting boats, repairing historic fabric or sanding the seams and old paint. It is a really different type of conservation then I am used to. Small artifacts are so easy to access what the problems to conserve are, but on such a large artifact such as a boat the problems are not as easily seen and require ample planning in order to make the boat useable again.
The only problem I have had so far is the cold! Coming from sunny Arizona I have been wearing almost four layers to stay warm, but when sailing it sometimes still is not enough. Mark Twain was right when he said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
I think I will get used to the cold soon, at least that’s what everyone says! Honestly, it is all worth it when knowing that we are saving historic artifacts or as I like to say “saving the world conserving one rotting boat at a time”. Some highlights from the past few weeks have been watching the sea lions who live on the dock next to the small boats. They laze around everyday and sigh every time I come to clean the boats then swiftly take off into the water. They are so lazy I have nicknamed one of them “anchor”, but to his credit sometimes he does do a bit of yoga to stay fit!
One of the most inspiring parts of my internship was that I got to march with the Park Rangers from all around the Bay Area in the Pride Parade. As a person who identifies as part of the LGBT+ community the march made me feel welcomed and loved within the ranger community.
Well that is about all! Anchors away for me at the Maritime Museum and I will update all of you readers soon!
-Alexa Rose (“Captain” and Conservation Intern of the Small Boat Shop)
P.S. I think the Maritime Museum looks like a giant smiley face.