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Weeks Ten, Eleven, and Beyond: Lumion! Rendering Images and Post-Processing in Adobe Photoshop

Weeks Ten, Eleven, and Beyond: Lumion! Rendering Images and Post-Processing in Adobe Photoshop

by: Anna Tiburzi


Welcome back!

Last we spoke, we were neck deep in SketchUp, frantically modeling to our heart’s content. Today, we talk about Lumion, which is a program with different strengths entirely.

While SketchUp shines in 3D modeling, giving the user the ability to push, pull, drag, and draw to create shapes and surfaces as desired and apply material textures to the faces of the model, it’s limited in how you can show your model as far as lighting, textures, and atmospherics. Lumion, on the other hand, is a visualization and rendering program designed to do just this. In Lumion, you can’t draw and make changes like you can in SketchUp, but you can add more detailed textures, better objects (such as trees, rocks, people, flags, and even whole buildings), and contextual terrain changes. It also features a scenes workspace where the user can set up vantages, like through the lens of a camera, and apply filters and effects in order to change the mood and atmospherics of the scene.

To start, it was important for the repeat photography vantages that all six models be in the same position. Lumion allows the user to align models or objects based on their origin point, so this was the first step after importing all the period models into Lumion.

Aspects like terrain can also be manipulated, changing the default terrain (grass) to ocean, in order to better place Liberty Island in context.

In previous posts in SketchUp, I mentioned the importance in isolating the paths in each of the models and applying the material textures. All that is still relevant here. Those isolated textures can be replaced in Lumion with more detailed and, generally, better looking textures in the Lumion material library. However, we’re not limited to Lumion’s textures – we can make our own.

During the site visit back in July, we took a lot of pictures of the island for the update report, for references in modeling, and for textures. I was able to take some of those images and create what are called seamless textures. Textures, in this case, are made up of image files that are just tiled over and over again. Seamless just means you can’t tell where the tiles begin and end – their seams match up with the one next to them, creating a smooth material surface.

From our site visit, I created seamless textures for the fort wall, coping stone, interior terreplein wall, concrete pedestal base, pedestal wall at the terreplein, the two different terreplein surface pavers and stones, and the seawall. Now, these surfaces in the model reflect the actual textures they have in real life. It might not be necessary to do this for all materials on a site, but for ones that may be more important or critical, using the real texture is always better than a generic one.

As amazing as the Lumion library is, it doesn’t have every tree or shrub or object in existence and those that is does have, sometimes don’t match the character of the element I’m trying to place – trees come in all shapes and sizes, even when they’re the same species. For some of the trees, matching the species worked great – the tree was the right one and it had the right look. For others, either the species didn’t exist in the library or the one that did exist didn’t look the way I wanted it too. In these cases, I placed another tree of a different species, one that better matched the character and look of the ones in the historical photographs. While it would be nice to have all the trees be the right species, getting the feeling and character of the place and scene took precedence. Which is why, in some of the models, I also added more trees than the original models indicated, making them look younger or more mature based on the historical references which showcased a much more dense or varied character.

Another feature Lumion offers is adjusting object transparency from 0% to 100%. For Liberty Island, in the 1956 and 2019 models in particular, the quantity and size of the trees on the island obscured a lot of the island’s detail and, in some vantages, began to overwhelm the image itself. By reducing the opacity of the trees to 50% however, they become too light and we lose that sense of mass and cover. We eventually settled on about a 20-30% transparency for a mostly solid look that lightened the overall presence of the trees in the scenes while still maintaining that sense of mass vegetation.

 Even with just materials and trees placed, you can start to get a better feel for the models as they become more detailed and realistic than they had been in SketchUp.

Here you can also see how you might change your materials over time, as we did with the grass texture between 1937 and 1956. This we did in response to the changing ownership of the island, from when it was run as a military base by the war department to when it was operated as part of the Statue of Liberty monument by the National Park Service.

Lumion offers a variety of preset styles, as well as the possibility to create any number of combinations of effects for a custom setting and mood from more realistic to styles that emulate a blueprint, watercolor, or pencil sketch. There’s infinite options really for how you could choose to show your render, and what you choose is determined by your intent and what you’re trying to show with your image.

We had a lot of details we wanted to show and so we decided to go in a more realistic direction, setting our scene at an earlier time of day to get more dynamic shadows and a softer, warmer light quality.

Now, it’s important to note that, while I don’t particularly mention any progress in SketchUp in this post, that doesn’t mean no work has been done doing further modeling in that program. Once the models are in Lumion, changes can be made in SketchUp and the models can then be re-imported into Lumion. As long as the file name hasn’t changed, those material changes, object placements, or scene set ups will be maintained.

To place the island a little more into context, I worked on developing a generic skyline background for each of the vantages. Lumion has an application called Open Street Map, in which you can pinpoint your location and Lumion will draw up the surrounding land areas and building footprints, which can be raised up or down to their approximate height.

If we go back into the scene setup workspace and apply a blueprint style, it gives the scene an outline look. This image can be rendered and brought into Adobe Photoshop to be traced and filled, creating a basic skyline silhouette.

Unfortunately, based on Liberty Island’s location, one single grab in Open Street Map wasn’t enough to cover all of the required background skylines, so I had to move that circle and render four different portions of skyline for each vantage. These I brought into Photoshop, reduced to 50% opacity so I could see them all at the same time, and traced and filled them in.

Whether you leave the outlines as a trace, semi-transparent blurred fill, or solid fill, the effect is a general skyline that adds a little more context to our model. We ended up going with a slightly transparency blurred fill, getting a more solid look but one that is less visually dominant – adding context without distracting from the image subject itself.

Other changes can be made in Photoshop too at this point, using the tools available to emphasize certain areas, lighten the image, or clean up any inconsistencies. Once you’re done in Photoshop, you have the final renders.


Final Renders

Now we’ll take a look at some of the final renders to come out of the project.

The goal of the vantage below is to demonstrate changes in the spatial organization of the island as the years progress. In it, you can see how the island’s edge changes over time as the island expands, or how the circulation paths and building concentrations have evolved through the years.

 

There are 8 vantages total, but I’m only including one more today. In this last vantage, the goal was to highlight that view at the end of the entrance axis to the flagpole and beyond to the city skyline in the 1956 and 2019 models. However, another great aspect that this vantage gives you the opportunity to get a closer look at, is how the island changes in the foreground.

In the earlier models, the water laps right up onto the island’s surface. This is because, at these points in time, the seawall hadn’t yet been constructed for this area of the island. As the year’s progress, the island’s surface is expanded and the foreground fills in.

Immersing myself into the models, from 1840 and on, to visiting the island in the present day has been such a unique and rewarding way of learning about Liberty Island. There’s only so much that can fit into a blog post, but I’d like to note that all of these programs that I’ve used – AutoCAD, SketchUp, Lumion, and Adobe Photoshop – are programs that I just became familiar with in the past year. The workflows I’ve described in these past five posts are just the techniques I’ve used to get from 2D plan to rendered image, but they’re ones that can be applied to any number of other projects or sites should you have the time or opportunity to explore these programs.

What’s left is finishing up the remaining vantages and any last modeling changes – there are 8 total and across six models that really adds up. The process for the rest will be similar – adjusting the Lumion scene and styles, rendering the images, developing and adding the skylines, and finishing up the last touches in Photoshop. As that process will be an echo of this post, I won’t go into any further detail on their process.

As I close, I’d like to give one last thank you to all the members of Team Liberty at SUNY ESF and at the OCLP in Boston – so thank you Aidan Ackerman, Julia Miller, Eliot Foulds, and Bob Page, for all your support, contributions, and guidance throughout the summer and as we move into the final stages of the rendering phase.

And thank you to any readers, friends, and family, who spent the last three months listening to me talk about the island’s materials and walls and stairs (a lot). It’s been an amazing opportunity and I’ve loved having the chance to share it with you all!

 


 

Wrapping up, but full speed ahead

Wrapping up, but full speed ahead

Week 10

by: Michelle Dempsey


Over the last couple weeks, I have largely been pulling together the research I have conducted over the past several months.

I have almost finished putting together the biographies necessary for our voting rights activity for fifth graders. Each student will receive a historical person, and the interpreters will be asking students various questions about who is able to vote during what time. I have created a timeline of key dates and events for students, so they can place their person in the appropriate historical context. The goal is to get students to think about what voting looks like when only a small number out of the population is able to vote.

With the education staff, we have come up with a list of 25 people, some more well known than others, who represent various demographics in American society through the 20th century. We have chosen men and women of different socioeconomic statuses, time periods, and races, and each student will randomly choose a historical character to learn about. Most of these people relate in some way to the state of New York. However, we realized that several crucial moments (and people) involved in voting rights history for the U.S. operated outside the realm of this state, especially concerning Native Americans and citizenship. While the Onondaga nation made their opposition to the 1924 Snyder Act (also known as the Indian Citizenship Act) known, we decided to include a Native American man named John Elk from Nebraska who sued for his right to vote in 1883. We have also decided to include Zitkala-Sa, one of the most prolific Native American authors and activists of the 20th century, who fought for Native American and women’s suffrage until the end of her life.

One of the most time-consuming, but important, aspects of this project is including as much information as possible about people history has barely remembered. Rather than simply having a bio card for a “poor white man” or “free black man” in the 19th century, I have been digging, with the help of the staff here at Lindenwald, to find names and stories about people who did not leave much historical evidence behind. For example, we are including two slaves who had passed time at Lindenwald. George was enslaved by the well-known Van Ness family of Kinderhook, who owned the home before Martin Van Buren. George sought his freedom in 1804, which we know from a runaway ad that the students will be able to read for themselves. We have also included Levi, a slave belonging to Henry Clay. Levi is a person interpreted at Lindenwald, for the guest bedroom on the first floor, known as the best bedroom, is set up to resemble Henry Clay’s visit to Lindenwald in 1849. Levi had become truant twice in his life, but he returned both times for reasons unknown. We are hoping to show through these stories that, as enslaved persons, Levi and George had no rights to American citizenship. After the 1857 Dred Scott Case, this status included all African Americans even though increasing numbers of propertied African American men were able to vote leading up to the Civil War.


In between conducting research and finalizing my projects here at Lindenwald, I have also been assisting the curatorial staff around the house. I have been assisting in the ins and outs of light monitoring, Integrated Pest Management, and general handling and caretaking of objects and collections. The following photos show the light reader used to monitor and track the UV light, visible light, temperature, and relative humidity in the many rooms around the house. The more information that is collected, the better the curatorial staff can care for the objects in the house. For instance, UV shades have been installed in most rooms to protect furniture and textiles from harmful light. Tracking which bugs have managed to find their way into the house can reveal if moisture levels are changing. Dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming all help keep objects clean and pest levels down.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Can Do It: A Brief Look Into the Women of World War II, an Internship Update, and Goodbye

We Can Do It: A Brief Look Into the Women of World War II, an Internship Update, and Goodbye

by: Hannah Marcel


My last few weeks at the Charlestown Navy Yard have been filled with opportunities for learning and engaging in history. A conservator came into the park to do work on objects displayed in the visitor center. The exhibit remained open while this work occurred, providing an opportunity to engage visitors in the process of preservation and giving me a chance to experience this public outreach. During this process I answered visitor questions about the objects and the conservators work. The first to receive attention was a display of foot protection used by Navy Yard workers. A pair of steel toe boots show the safest form of footwear, unfortunately the priciest. A pair of steel toe covers show a cheaper alternative that can be clasped on to a regular pair of boots and still provide protection. Lastly, on display are a pair of regular boots with strips of steel nailed over the toe, even cheaper still, but not an ideal form of protection. The conservator examined the condition of the boots, looking for any signs of deterioration, before performing a light brush vacuuming to clean the boots.

The next object receiving care was an eagle figurehead on display that had been removed from the ship USS Nightingale. The Nightingale was siezed by the United States Navy for participating in the illegal slave trade and repurposed for use during the Civil War. The figurehead was removed following the war. A layer of a shellac like substance appeared to be surrounding portions of the eagle figurehead, possibly covering a gilded decoration underneath that could be seen in certain areas where the outer layer had chipped away. A cleaning test was performed to see if this layer would be removable.

Not all objects in collections are on display, however, and work continued behind the scenes as well. To prepare for an upcoming move, many of the foundry patterns housed in the collection need to be wrapped and boxed. This requires caution in both the handling of the objects as well as recording which box they have been moved to and where in the collection that box is located.

 The highlight of the past few weeks has been the World War II focused event hosted at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The event, titled We Can Do It; Service on the Homefront, showcased the sacrifices needed on the homefront to support the war effort. There was a strong emphasis on the contributions of women during the war with the event being nicknamed “Rosie” or the “Rosie Event” among park staff. This is in reference to historical and feminist icon Rosie the Riveter, which park staff and visitors were encouraged to dress as in keeping with the events theme. A variety of lectures were given by rangers and historians, including how Massachusetts prepared soldiers for the war, and the role of make up in women’s lives during World War II. Ranger led talks explored an on site victory garden, and discussed the actual women that worked in the Navy Yard during the war. The event gave visitors an opportunity to see how the war impacted American society, giving opportunities to those who they had been closed off to previously including women, people of color, and disabled workers. It also provided a look into how production in the Navy Yard, which occurred night and day, contributed to the war effort. 

The park partnered with other parks and historical organizations to provide an education opportunity for all. Members of the 26th Infantry Division, a World War II reenactment group, had a living history tent set up on the lawn of the Commandant’s House. Staff from the Lowell National Historic Park were on site to discuss how the war impacted life in Lowell as well. In the evenings, live bands blasted hits from World War II to accompany a swing lesson followed by a lively dance where visitors could put their moves to the test.


Dive Deeper: Rosie the Riveter and the Women of World War II 

The event gave me a wonderful opportunity to dive into the role of women during World War II as well as the history of the Rosie the Riveter icon. Who did Rosie the Riveter represent? Bright red lips, hair pulled back in a bandana, arm curled up as a sign of strength is a recognizable icon that once served as motivation for women during the war. This rendition of Rosie has become a well known feminist symbol representing the strength of women, especially in the workforce. The image was not widely seen during the war, however, hanging on the wall of a helmet-liner factory for only two weeks. In fact, it wasn’t until a 1982 article about patriotic posters did it’s popularity grow, becoming the feminist symbol that it is today. The nickname referring to the women working in production during the war, Rosie, can likely be attributed to a well known pop song of the era. “Rosie the Riveter,” sung by the Four Vagabonds, was written to showcase the contributions of working women during the war. Norman Rockwell, possibly motivated by the song, painted an image of a working woman with the name Rosie painted on her lunchbox. Both the song and the painting likely cemented the nickname in American society. 

 American pop culture played a significant role in the war effort by encouraging public participation and reflecting the anxiety of the time. Movies, cartoons, and comics educated the public on the importance of supporting the war. War Bonds, food rationing, and victory gardening were all popular topics of discussion. Artists and musicians depicted what life was like on the homefront and abroad as fighting continued. Posters, like the image of Rosie the Riveter, specifically encouraged women to participate. The Women’s Army Corps (WACS), The Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Services (WAVES), and the Coast Guards Women Reserve (SPARS) all utilized posters to recruit women directly into the military effort. These posters promised a sooner victory and increased safety for the troops if women joined. The women enrolled would serve in a position previously held by men, freeing them up to fight abroad. The women of the WAVES were prohibited from serving overseas, with the exception of Hawaii, and performed crucial tasks on Navy bases at home. These tasks included clerical work, healthcare, radio operating, machine work, parachute rigging, and training men to serve abroad.

 Enrollment in the military was not required to work in production, as a Rosie, and women across the country kept the nation running. Over 8,000 women were employed here in the Navy Yard during the war. The work was not always easy and shifts often lasted 10-12 hours, running 24 hours a day. After long hours of work, many of these women had to return to prepare meals for their families and maintain their household. Childcare was rarely offered to the women, providing another challenge for many working mothers. In some cases, men did not wish to be working alongside the women arguing that they were weaker, more emotional, and ultimately taking a men’s work. On occasion the women would face tricks and harassment from their male peers.  Despite these challenges, the women stepped up to support the nation. This work often gave women a new level of social freedom by providing an income, with many moving to urban areas to work. For some this was the first time they had ever worked, for others it was a new opportunity. The Rosie the Riveter icon has historically ignored the reality of many African American women who faced discrimination for being both African American and women. In many cases African American women, and women of lower social status, had already been working to support their families. Jobs in production provided increased opportunity for them however, with better wages. This work also began breaking down many divides and gave women a chance to interact with people that they likely would not have previously.

 The war began to impact the role of women in the workforce on a larger scale. After victory was won increased amounts of production were no longer needed to support a war. Men were sent back to America, returning to work. Some women desired to remain in the workforce, utilizing the skills they had developed during the war. The nation grappled with the best way to handle this transition, facing many questions. Had the women not sacrificed plenty in their own lives to support the war effort, learning a wider depth of talents? Would it be fair to let them go after all they had done? What about war widows who had families to support? At the same time, hadn’t the agreement been that work would be temporary, a solution for the war and nothing further? Would it be fair to tell a soldier who had also placed his life on hold, and at risk, that his job was not available for him when he got back? A poll taken at the time suggested that 48% of Americans felt the women should be let go, with another 36% believing that they should only stay on if they were war widows or there was plenty of work for men already. Most navy yards and factories agreed and began letting their women workers go, starting with women of color and disabled women.


To learn more about the women who worked her in the Charlestown Navy Yard, visit https://www.nps.gov/bost/learn/historyculture/women-navy-yard-workers.htm 

To hear interviews of women who went to work during the war, visit http://dlib.nyu.edu/rosie/interviews/susan-taylor-king 

Letter Reading, Deciphering, Pondering

Letter Reading, Deciphering, Pondering

Week 8

by: Michelle Dempsey


Over the past couple weeks, I have been conducting a deep dive of letter-reading. The letters I received from the New-York Historical Society are letters written by Christina Cantine, Van Buren’s niece, to her close friend Caroline Ludlow (Frey). The collection itself is part of the Frey Family Papers, the family that Caroline married into in 1828. These letters very much contain what one would expect in correspondence between good friends: local news, gossip, fears, hopes, and remonstrances for not writing more often. However, I am mining Cantine’s letters in particular for material relating to women’s lives and experiences in the antebellum period, the Van Buren family, and anything connected to wider movements or concerns of the day (e.g. the Second Great Awakening and evangelical revivalism, Indian removal, slavery, or women’s socio-political standing).

In reading these letters, I had to overcome a certain level of frustration, as Cantine’s letters were very often almost indecipherable due to her habit of turning her page ninety degrees to continue writing over what she had just written (see image below).

Perhaps one of the most interesting passages I have encountered relates to Cantine’s refusal to live with her uncle in Albany, when Van Buren’s term as US Senator from NY was ending, and his term as state governor would start the following year. These letters unveil her reasons why she declined, as she wrote, “I would cheerfully make a sacrifice of my own feeling for his [Van Buren’s] gratification if I thought I could do it consistently – but do you not think, my friend, that I would be putting myself in the way of temptation by going to Albany – & could I go there & then with confidence pray ‘lead me not into temptation’…. I wish to comply with all his requests…that I may have the greater influence over him & if possible bring him to reflection but I dare not, even to accomplish this desirable object, endanger my own peace & bring guilt on my conscience” (Kinderhook, July 25, 1828). Cantine reveals her reservations for visiting for fear of temptation, but what temptation she refers to is unclear.

Several months later, Cantine wrote again to Frey, as Van Buren had asked her once more to come live with him and his family in Albany. This time, however, she provided a little more context for her reservations and reasons for denial, writing, “I could not consent to live as he would wish to have me – he would expect me to do many things that would be repugnant to my feelings & my principles – He said I might live as retired as I chose except he should expect me to entertain ladies when they came & during the winter he should be obliged occasionally to make evening parties & then of course it would be expected that I should be present, that is, when the ladies visited.” Cantine felt ganged up on by those who attempted to persuade her to stay, and she noted that “I never had my feelings more tried in my life. I hardly knew what was my duty – For a moment I thought perhaps I could be very useful here – perhaps I may do much in restraining John – If I am faithful I may do much for the servants – I thought it may be that I am shrinking from my duty in being so unwilling to stay,” but ultimately, Cantine feared “I might in time take delight in those very things I now consider sinful” (Kinderhook, October 10, 1828). Wile she never clarifies what sinful or tempting “things” she means, Cantine reveals a severe discomfort with aspects of Albany political society. Considering the pious and deeply religious nature of her other letters, I would not be surprised if Cantine opposed the drinking and luxury that accompanied the society of a prominent politician. As hostess to her uncle, Cantine, as Van Buren himself noted, would be responsible for entertaining a group of people whose lifestyle she clearly felt uncomfortable with.

In this situation, Cantine’s religious views come through in a unique way, for many of her letters describe sermons, contain prayers, and discuss the various revivals and church meetings sweeping through New York. As a Sunday School teacher for African Americans, an abolitionist, supporter of temperance and opposer to Indian removal, Cantine’s reform-mindedness informs much of her religiously-inspired daily activities. A long-term stay or visit with the president, playing hostess to state and federal politicians, removed from her many organizations, meetings, and societies, would be sure to disrupt her routine piety and devotion in a way Cantine clearly viewed as dangerous. In these writings about Van Buren we can see Cantine struggle with her feelings about the family she chose (her religious family as a child of God) and the family she was born into (the future president of the United States).

Brief Discussion on Segregation and African American Contributions to the War Effort During World War II

Brief Discussion on Segregation and African American Contributions to the War Effort During World War II

by: Hannah Marcel


The past couple of weeks I have been assisting the museum technician with re-establishing the collections Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan. Having an IPM plan in place protects historical and cultural resources against potential damage caused by pests. Pests include insects or rodents that may feed on or nest in objects, but also moisture pests like mold. Monitoring for these pests is an important part of an IPM plan. This includes setting traps to identify which pests may be in your collection and where they are located. This allows you to take further action in protecting other artifacts in the collection by preventing the spread of the pest and deciding the best course of action in eradicating them. It also gives you a better idea of how to protect against these pests in the future. By changing and monitoring these traps, I am learning what to look out for in order to keep a collection safe.

Another project that I have been working on is planning a collection show and tell program for park staff and volunteers. This would give them a chance to see objects in the collection that are not typically seen and broaden their understanding of the parks cultural resources and the ways that these are maintained. They can use the collection as a resource in their research and interpretation as well. This program will also allow them to understand when and how to connect members of the public with the cultural resource management team for personal research questions or artifact donation questions. To begin preparing for this program I have been working on identifying objects in the collection that may be of interest to the staff and volunteers. After identifying certain objects, research into the history and context of the objects provide a better picture of the ways that they connect to the daily work of volunteers and staff here in the park.

Dive Deeper

The Charlestown Navy Yard, and the USS Cassin Young, have been witness to changes in society and policy throughout history. The Second World War impacted every aspect of American life, including race relations. The experiences of those that worked in the Navy Yard, or served on the Cassin Young, is reflective of these cultural shifts. The Charlestown Navy Yard was established in 1800 at a time when slavery, although illegal in Massachusetts, was still practiced in most of the country. When the USS Cassin Young was commissioned in 1943, the Navy was still segregated. African American men and women made incredible, yet often overlooked, contributions to the war effort all while facing segregation and discrimination at home.

Prior to the Second World War, African American enrollment in the Navy was actively discouraged. Selective recruiting allowed the Navy to maintain a low number of African American soldiers who were only permitted to serve as stewards. A nation at war needs manpower, however, and the Navy was faced with increasing pressure from political activists to open all branches of the Navy to African Americans. After the United States joined the war they decided to do just that, with the exception of the Women’s Naval Reserve. African American women would not be permitted to join until late 1944.

African American enlistees trained in segregated facilities, lived in segregated berthing, and were barred from restaurants and bars that their white counterparts could visit. On the USS Cassin Young, African American soldiers were berthed in the small closet sized room that would later be converted into a barbershop space. Only 10% of a ships crew was permitted to be African American, leaving most enlistees to work on land as construction and dock workers. The Navy pointed to a lack of segregated berthing options onboard as a reason for these restrictions. Political pressure continued to grow, however, and the Navy decided to commission a ship specifically for African American soldiers.

The USS Mason was built here in the Navy Yard and held an almost entirely African American crew. Serving as an escort ship the USS Mason assisted more vulnerable ships across the North Atlantic, navigating storms and German U-Boats. During a particularly brutal storm, the crew escorted the more vulnerable ships in their convoy to safety. When other ships sent to help turned back to harbor, and the storm cracked their deck, the men of the USS Mason repaired the deck and continued to help. The men went above and beyond to serve their country despite racism and segregation they experienced back home. As a result of their bravery the captain of the USS Mason recommended the crew receive a commendation for their efforts but this request was ignored. In 1994 President Clinton recognized the bravery of these men with a commendation, presented to 67 surviving members, after the story of the USS Mason resurfaced.

African American women who contributed to the war effort also faced segregation and discrimination on the homefront. African American WAVES were trained separately from their white counterparts and were sometimes given less desirable jobs. When women all over the country took jobs in factories and navy yards to support the war effort, African American women were barred from many of the jobs. They often faced harsh treatment from their bosses and discrimination from their white counterparts. The hypocrisy of a nation fighting the white supremacist ideals of the Nazi regime while treating their own citizens as inferior based on their race was obvious to many. In 1942, the Double V Campaign emerged, advocating for a double victory for African Americans, one abroad and one at home.

The pressures of war forced barriers to break as the nation needed more manpower. The war effort brought individuals of all different backgrounds together and opened opportunities that had previously been unavailable to many Americans. African American men and women were able to obtain higher paying jobs than those available before the war. People of various backgrounds worked alongside people of different genders, races, class, and physical ability. In July of 1948 President Truman signed executive order 9981, requiring all armed services to begin the process of integration and declaring equal treatment an official policy.

During the Korean conflict, ships were fully integrated and pictures taken on the Cassin Young during the Cold War show white and African American soldiers together. The military, and the country, still had a long way to go. Many African American veterans that fought the white supremacist beliefs of Nazi Germany returned home and fought for Civil Rights in their own country. Despite this the contributions and experience of African American men and women during the Second World War and beyond have historically been ignored. As always the story goes deeper than what I am able to share here and I urge you to continue to research the stories of these men and women.

To read a more in depth post on the men of the USS Mason visit this blog post written by Mary Pat Kelly, https://www.americanheritage.com/uss-mason-battles-u-boats-and-bigots, or purchase her book Proudly They Served: The Men of the USS Mason.

To hear the stories of African American women working in World War II please visit https://www.invisiblewarriorsfilm.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Change of Pace- Utilizing Special Collections and Visiting Historic Sites in Auburn, NY

A Change of Pace- Utilizing Special Collections and Visiting Historic Sites in Auburn, NY

by: Victoria Elliot


Last week I was very much “on-the-go.” I traveled from Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls to the University of Rochester, the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center, and the Seward House Museum in Auburn. These trips were a welcome change of pace from my typical work schedule, which otherwise consists of mostly sedentary activities.

 I had the opportunity to browse the University of Rochester’s Rare Books and Special Collections library. I was looking to learn more about the Rochester Women’s Rights Convention, held two weeks following the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. I read through Box 3 of the Isaac and Amy Post Family Papers, and came across some great resources. One of the most interesting letters I read was from John Willis, addressed to his “Esteemed Sister” Amy Post, regarding the Rochester convention.

 

The letter opens with the following: “I thought when I received that Rochester paper [the North Star] giving an account of the woman’s [sic] convention and of their rights and what they wanted… that I would write to Isaac and and request him to peruade [sic] his wife to try to have a little more stability, and to act more like a sensable [sic] woman.”

Esteemed sister, indeed!

This letter is a great example of the paternalistic attitudes held toward women. This section of the letter doubly admonishes Amy Post- she is attacked for her “inappropriate” behavior, but by stating his plan to address his concerns to Isaac, Amy Post’s husband, John Willis reflects the belief in the husband’s authority and superiority over his wife. The rest of the letter is likewise hostile to the idea of women’s rights, and this sentiment extends to women’s involvement in abolition, temperance, and free soil activities.

The Posts were Spiritualists, abolitionists, and supporters of women’s rights and other social reform movements. Their home was a station on the Underground Railroad in Rochester, NY, and they were close friends of important figures like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, William C. Nell, Abby Kelley, and Harriet Jacobs. I’ll close this blog post with one of my favorite finds from the University of Rochester’s Isaac and Amy Post Family Papers- in a letter from Frederick Douglass to Amy Post, Mr. Douglass assures her in the fashion of a true agitator:

“The coming Women’s Rights Convention is looked forward to with much interest… I will be on hand if nothing happens.”

(For the full letter: Douglass, Frederick, “Douglass, Frederick. Letter to Amy Kirby Post.,” RBSCP Exhibits, accessed August 12, 2019, https://rbscpexhibits.lib.rochester.edu/items/show/3153 )

Deliberating rights: Constitutional Conventions and the Disfranchised

Week 6 – Deliberating rights: Constitutional Conventions and the Disenfranchised

by: Michelle Dempsey


The past couple weeks have been mostly made up of primary research on voting rights in New York. I finished reading through over 900 pages of the 1821 New York State Constitutional Convention (hooray!) and moved on to finish the 1846 convention, which also hovered around 900 pages. Many of the arguments from 1821 again resurfaced in 1846. Should property be necessary as a voting requirement? Should African Americans be entitled to equal privileges as white citizens? While the 1821 convention eliminated most property requirements for white male citizens, black men were still required to possess 250 dollars in order to vote (as I had noted in my previous blog post). The 1846 Convention, edging ever nearer to the upcoming sectional crisis, made concerns about class and race prominent. Some representatives, such as Isaac Burr, believed that “they [the men of the 1821 convention] made a retrograde movement – that they took a step toward the dark ages” and asked, “should this Convention in 1846, take still another step in that direction, by continuing this odious provision, and by disenfranchising another portion of our tax-paying native born citizens?” However, the majority of the men at the convention agreed that the status of African Americans was not, and should not be, equal to white men, and the property requirement remained.

At this convention, the roles and rights of another group of Americans were brought up for discussion: women. In the first couple days of the convention, trouble apparently arose due to men taking up the front row of the women’s gallery, the designated space for women to observe the proceedings of the convention. After a petition was presented on behalf of the women by John Leslie Russell, an argument ensued about how to handle the situation. Some men believed that a few doorkeepers should be placed in order to properly reserve the ladies’ seats because, as Russell noted, “The high consideration in which the sex were held in this country, and should be everywhere, demanded that the privileges which they did enjoy should be fully secured to them.” While many were in favor of protecting the ladies’ gallery in some way, by means of doorkeepers or signs, Benjamin Bruce commented that “he was somewhat suspicious of this new-born zeal of certain gentlemen, veteran members of the legislature, on behalf of the ladies.” Russell made the point that the previous two sessions had appointed doorkeepers, and the delegates resolved to maintain one doorkeeper for the ladies’ gallery for the remainder of the convention. I found this passage particularly interesting, as it highlights the growing role and interest American women were taking in politics as the nineteenth century moved forward. The maintaining a gallery for women, even though still separate from men, meant that women were encouraged to be engaged in politics not only for the sake of their brothers, fathers, and husbands, with whom they were meant to converse and socialize with, but also for their own sake, as men were meant to protect the interests of the women under their care.

The question of women’s rights continued as the convention progressed, this time concerning the property rights of married women. The 1846 convention proceedings reveal a great concern on this topic on behalf of the men present. A proposal was introduced which stated that “All property of the wife owned by her at the time of her marriage and that acquired by her afterwards by gift, devise, or descent or otherwise than from her husband, shall be her separate property.” This proposal meant giving to married women a right they previously did not have under the law: the right to their own property. This issue was contested hotly, and some men noted that “this subject had been before the legislature for many years, and if there was any desire among the people for such a provision, they should have known it.” He went on to note that “this separation of interest and division of property between man and wife, would produce domestic trouble.” However, many others noted that this provision would mean women were protected from profligate husbands, sons, and other male relatives destined to inherit the property women brought to their marriage or obtained after. In the end, the provision passed; however, it was only slowly and sporadically enforced over the ensuing years.

As noted by historian Lori Ginzberg, several petitions by women made their way to the 1846 convention (through their county representatives), which not only asked for married women’s property rights, but also their right to vote. Two years before the momentous Seneca Falls women’s rights convention in 1848, a group of six women from Jefferson County asked of the convention to “extend to women equal, and civil and political rights with men,” invoking the Declaration of Independence as they proclaimed equality of men and women “a self-evident truth” which “is sufficiently plain without argument” (Ginzberg 4). While at least two other women’s petitions made it to the convention, the records were apparently lost in the 1911 Capitol Building fire. Prior to Seneca Falls, women across the state of New York publicly desired to expand the rights promised to them, as citizens, under the founding documents of the United States. The debates about property, voting, rights, privileges, and citizenship which permeated both the 1821 and 1846 constitutional conventions made the problem of women’s citizenship paramount in the years to come, as Americans increasingly pondered which rights women should have. As Ginzberg notes, these women petitioners, and the men they petitioned, knew that “the right to hold property, so long associated with independent citizenship, would alter women’s status as citizens” (Ginzberg 144). The results of the 1846 convention meant that married women could now be considered property holders. If property-holding black men could vote, why not women?

 

 

Finalizing the Last of the Inventory

By Clara Chang

These last few weeks of my internship have been very exciting and filled with new experiences! I have been helping my supervisor with her annual museum inventory, which includes all the southeastern parks of North Carolina: Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, and Moores Creek National Battlefield. Last week we traveled to Cape Lookout and Moores Creek to finish up the last of the inventory due this week. Both parks were new to me, and I was blown away by the serenity of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, surrounded by crystal clear blue waters. Moores Creek was equally serene, beautifully green and surrounded by lush trees and forest. Both sites were also filled with history and welcoming rangers, eager to share their parks with us.

Figure 1: Lots of travel in my last few weeks!

Last week I also spent some time at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, assisting with archaeological monitoring while maintenance installed new bollards at the entrance road. I also completed photographing the Fort Raleigh archaeological collection at the Museum Resource Center.

Figure 2: Maintenance installing new bollards at the entrance station.

In addition to inventory, I also became familiar with the Interior Collections Management System (ICMS), a database software used by the Department of the Interior for cataloging and accessioning the cultural and natural resources of each park. The past couple of days I was updating the locations and statuses of the museum collections for some of the parks as my supervisor was completing the inventory sheets for each park. Also this week, I went back to Cape Hatteras to reinstall the 20th Anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move exhibits in the correct colored exhibit cases with my supervisor and John Havel of the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society. I also began converting slides from the Moores Creek slide collection to JPEG format.

Figure 3: One of my site visits this week

Next week, for my last week, I will most likely continue to work in ICMS, cataloging resources and uploading those Fort Raleigh archaeological photos into the database as well.

These past 11 weeks have been so fulfilling and educational for me. As I begin my graduate studies in Anthropology at NC State, I feel so prepared from this experience with ACE and NPS. I have become more confident in my abilities with cultural resource management, and I would like to thank the Resource Management Division and everyone at the Outer Banks Group Headquarters that made my time here so memorable and inspiring. I am especially grateful to have worked under my supervisor, Jami Lanier. As the Cultural Resource Manager for five parks, she showed me just how capable and talented one person can be when under so much pressure and having so many responsibilities. I am lucky to have learned so much from her and the many people that she works with on a daily basis, as it demonstrates the power of teamwork and strong leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venturing Through Campus

By Elizabeth Eikmann

Last week I ventured to the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, one of the oldest Universities in the city. I stopped in to visit their Special Collection to discover all kinds of rare images and objects related to suffrage in St. Louis!

One wonderful source I uncovered was the collection of diaries of William Greenleaf Eliot, a founder of the University, St. Louis city civic booster, Reverend, Professor, and very outspoken supporter of women’s suffrage… And he was all these things in the 1860s and 70s! He is one of the small group of men of agency and influence during this time in St. Louis history with surviving record of supporting the developing suffrage movement.

In his diaries there are record of him being invited to attend suffrage meetings, some of which he did and others where he wrote a speech to be read at the meeting in his absence, which he then had published in local newspapers.

Figure 1: Collection of diaries of William Greenleaf Eliot

 

I also explored the papers of Edna Gelhorn, an active suffragist and later President of the St. Louis chapter of the League of Women Voters. I uncovered telegram records between her and Carrie Chapman Catt, well-known suffragist activist and founder of the League of Women Voters and President of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and her “Honor Roll” certificate of recognition for her dedication to the suffrage movement and political activism.

Figure 2: The papers of Edna Gelhorn

There were also some wonderful images from Gelhorn’d 85th birthday celebration, which took place at the St. Louis League’s headquarters in the Central West End (a St. Louis neighborhood). Check out those awesome posters hanging in the background!

Figure 3: Edna Gelhorn’s 85th birthday!

On my way out of the library one day, I happened upon this awesome “mini”-exhibition: true in every sense, as the display was dedicated to miniature books! Reading Shakespear is hard enough, never mind trying to do it in 3 point font!

Figure 4: A mini exhibit of Shakespeare

My journey also took me to the Mercantile Library, the oldest library in the city of St. Louis. There I found a book The Minor Family of Virginia, a genealogy dive of the Minor family published by a descendant in 1922. There I found mention of both Virginia Louisa Minor and Francis Minor. This source was invaluable in tracing their own family history…I discovered that Francis Minor’s parents were first cousins and that he is the second cousin of the father of Virginia (who will later become his wife). They’re also both related to the Meriwether and Lewis families (of the Lewis and Clark fame!).

This was a tough one to look through…everyone shares the same last name, names their kids after ancestors, and even…gives their kid the same first and last name! How confusing! (See number 4 on this list…Minor Minor…oh, my!)

Figure 5: Findings at the Mercantile library

In the coming weeks, I’ll dive back into the genealogy of the Minor family to (hopefully!) discover Virginia and Francis’s descendants, continue work at the Mercantile library, and pay a visit to the State Historical Society.

 

 

 

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Blog Post #4

By Sabrina Gonzalez

At Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, I have never met so many enthusiastic Abraham Lincoln and National Park fans. A few times visitors have brought Lincoln memorabilia to share with the park staff. This has been from Lincoln spoons to a great collection of pennies. Personally, my favorite is when they ask for the special cancellation stamp to put in their books and when visitors come in with a stack of pages in their National Park Passport.

Figure 1: The stamp for the National Park passport

Lincoln Boyhood’s special cancellation stamp is a miss print. Instead of National, it says Nation. Principal Snider from Montana has been to over 375 National Parks. She said, “it’s a fabulous way to teach kids about authentic history and a way to nurture the character and ideals about this wonderful country.” Her goal is to complete her book and teach her students about the wonderful history she has learned along the way.

Figure 2: Principal Snider from Montana

 

The Importance of Volunteers

Since my time at Lincoln Boyhood has begun I have been able to understand the importance of volunteers at National Parks. We are a fairly small park and the year around staff is twelve. During the summer peak season, the park staff grows to twenty two. The majority of these individuals are volunteers. The most interesting and kind volunteers I have been able to work with have been June and Alice; a mother-daughter duo. Alice is ten years old and asked her mother if they could help at the Living Historical Farm. Her mother agreed and once a week they dedicate a few hours to volunteer. Alice is the youngest volunteer at the park and we are happy to have her because we are able to show visitors the different types of chores and activities children would have done at the farm. Volunteers, like Alice, are able to improve the visitor experience at National Parks.

Figure 3: Mother daughter duo June and Alice are regular volunteers here

Which National Park Has the Tallest Flagpole?

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial! It is 120 feet and 3 inches tall. Every morning and every evening myself or another volunteer brings the large sack filled with the 18’ x 12’ flag to the flagstaff to be hoisted. When I was working at the archives one day I stumbled upon a file marked Park History Flagstaff. In this file, I found a 1985 letter by the Guinness Books. The Superintendent, Norman D. Hellmers, wrote a letter to Alex E. Reid, Assistant Science Editor, discussing the height of Lincoln Boyhood’s flagpole. Unfortunately, it is a rejection letter. We may not have the tallest flagpole in the United States but we do have the tallest flagpole within the National Parks. 

Figure 4: Tallest Flagpole in the National Parks

My Work as a Museum Technician Continues

I am proud to say that I have completed the cataloging for the museum collections. Now, I have moved on to filing for the archives. I will continue this work until my internship is over. Lincoln Boyhood has archives for the Park History, Lincoln History, Lincoln Collections, Spencer County, Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association, Lincoln Related Organizations, and Warrick County.

Figure 5: I am proud to say that I completed the parks cataloging

The most recent archive collection I have completed has been the Park History Archive. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial became a National Park in 1962, signed into law by John F. Kennedy. Prior, it was an Indiana State Park named Nancy Hanks Lincoln State Memorial. It was dedicated to Abraham Lincoln’s mother because she is buried at the park. The Park History Archive contains the records for both the, previous, State Park and the, current, National Park. I try to share this knowledge as much as I can with visitors. It is important to know why Lincoln Boyhood is a National Park but it is also important to know how it became a National Park.

Figure 6: Working with the Park History Archive

Saying Goodbye

In “My Childhood Home I See Again,” Abraham Lincoln writes, “saddened with the view; and still as memory clouds my brain there’s pleasure in it too.” The foundations of his character are laid through his youth experiences. What brings a man from a log cabin to the white house? Who would change the structure of society and leave a mark on history? The answer lies not in a single past event but a sequence of them. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial brings his past to life in a monumental and engaging way that both inspires and educates the public. Participating at this park has taught me the positive impact this has on visitors and the reason why I will continue this work.

Farewell, Until We Meet Again

By Madisyn Rostro


As my last week in New Hampshire is quickly ending I have soon begun to realize how fast I must come back to reality. That is the reality of finishing my education at Iowa State and continuing to gain other experiences at other places in the US as well. I have been very fortunate to travel across the country to chase my very own dreams. I am beyond grateful for taking this opportunity and being able to learn as much as I possibly can before I head home. While completing this internship I have made my decision that I want to continue to do internships around the US to gain more experience from different regions. I think that this is a vital piece in my career at least so that I may see what region I like better and what type of museum work that I like more as well. This internship has opened my eyes to more opportunities that I am willing to take and that I am willing to do. I want to get as much as experience as possible while I am an undergraduate and before I must enter the real world of looking for a job.

For a summary of what my last two weeks of this internship have been like. I must begin with how much I didn’t realize how much you spend cleaning in this job. Every day we start with our rounds of cleaning Aspet (the home of Augustus Saint-Gaudens) and then going around to the Little Studio, Shaw Memorial, Adams Memorial, carriage barn, New Gallery, Atrium, and ending at the Farragut Monument. On one of the nice days, we had begun to see how much dirt was collecting over at the temple. As we all headed down there and began to clean, we noticed that it was a lot warmer there than what we had originally noticed. Cleaning the temple is no easy task, just like cleaning any piece of sculpture that is a century old.  We must first sprint some water onto the temple and then take bushes and clean off the bases. We even have these toothbrush looking brushes that work well for tight and tiny spaces. I took my time with that making sure to get all the gunk off the temple and so that it shines again.

Later that week we went to The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. There we got to meet almost the entire staff that works closely with the objects to people who educate others on certain topics. We also got to meet the people who help construct an exhibit or even help put it up on display. One golden gem that was there that we had to see was the Diana. The Diana is of a female nude that shows the face of Davida Johnson Clark, the model, mistress, and mother of Augustus Saint-Gaudens illegitimate son Luis (Novy). I had a fabulous time going to the Clark and being able to see so many beautiful

paintings about so many different topics that I had never seen before. I also like the feeling that you could spend hours in there and there would always be something else to look at. Even if you already saw every sculpture and painting then you go back a second time and take a deeper look at each piece and beginning to get a better sense of idea who these artists were and how they interpreted the world.

The next exciting thing that I did was going to Montreal, Quebec. I had been to Canada one other time and that was on my way to this internship. Zoe and I had decided to take a trip up there and to do a little sightseeing before we both headed back home. I had another great experience, although everything was in French and I don’t speak or understand any French I still managed to get around. It also helped that Zoe knows French and is getting a minor in it back at Chatham University. While we were there we decided to stop and see the Pointe-à-Callière Museum it is the history and archeology museum in Old Montreal. To my surprise, it was mostly about the history of Montreal. I found this museum very interesting because it talked about the first settlers that came to Montreal and how they interacted with the Native Americans and how it didn’t turn out the best way. It was also very fascinating to see the different time periods that were going on in Canada and Montreal through the time. Exploring the downtown of Montreal was also amazing to see. Old Montreal looked as if I was in the UK and looking up at these historic buildings. One of my favorite things was going to some of the restaurants/ Cafes and seeing what they had to eat that I had never had before. Even though I was terrible at pronouncing the French word I’m glad that they spoke English as well and could understand me for the most part. Lastly, Zoe and I went to the Botanical Gardens on our last day there in Canada. It is right across the street of the Olympic stadium that hasn’t been used since the 1970s when Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner was the star of the show. It was nice being able to see all the plants that are native to Canada and foreign as well. Some things that I wouldn’t see anywhere else, for example, like a Bonsai Tree. They are the very small trees that don’t look humanly possible nor do they look as old as they are. It was fun going there and being able to take pictures so that I can look back on this memory for years to come.

As my last week is quickly coming to an end, I have nothing but good things to say about my experience. I am beyond glad that I took this opportunity to come across the country to follow my dreams and to see if working in a historic area was right for me. I have found that it is right for me and that I am more than happy with the choices that have gotten me here and for the memories, I will leave this place with. I look forward to applying to more internships in the future and seeing what else they have to teach me. I feel that every day I learn something about working closely with the objects and even working with the curatorial team. I have grown to like the New England area as well and I would be more than happy to come back to this area in my future and to see how well it has aged and to take advantage of everything that I didn’t get to do the first time I was here.

Minute Man National Historical Park, Coming to a Close

By Allison Hillman

July 21st-Aug 3rd
These work weeks were full of Junior Ranger initiations, North Bridge talks, and Hartwell Tavern musket demonstrations. The last day of my internship is on the 10th, so it is sad to see everything coming to an end.

Hartwell Musket Firings
I spent several days at Hartwell Tavern dressed in colonial garb and talking about the historic Hartwell home. I also gave a few musket firing demonstrations. These demonstrations start with me giving the audience a talk about the Minutemen. I  will then have them line up in formation and talk them through battle tactics used on April 19, 1775, then I will end with the musket firing.  A few days ago my 91 year old grandmother came to see me do the demonstration. She loved it!
Afterwards I let her hold the musket, and she said it was the first time she has ever held a gun in her life. So far, Hartwell Tavern has been my favorite part of the internship. I love dressing in costume and firing for the audience, it has been an incredible experience.

Figure 1: Pictured is my grandma and I. The first time she held a gun in her life!

I spent a handful of days at the North Bridge and the North Bridge visitor’s center. The picture below was taken at the famous Minute Man statue at the bridge. I spend hours down here talking to visitors, answering questions, and petting lots of cute dogs.  Overall, I have had an amazing time here at Minute Man. I am excited to move on to other things, but I have valued every second of my internship here and am so sad to see it ending. I will definitely be returning here to see my old coworkers and all the important sites that helped create American History.

Figure 1: I am thankful for my time here and will definitely be returning.

Weeks Eight and Nine: Modeling and…More Modeling

By Anna Tiburzi

Alright, I know what I said last time about transitioning into Lumion and I promise we’re getting there, but after seeing the island in person and looking through some more photos and references, there was still more to do.

I’ve spent the past two weeks getting the models where I really want them – materials, seawalls, building treatments, and missing planar geometry being the biggest goals I had.

Materials

Material applications have been in the works for a couple weeks now, but we’re finally at the point where not only are the ground plane materials applied, but those needed for buildings, the fort, or other geometry have been applied as well.

The existing buildings had all originally been treated with the same “wood” texture to identify them. After working with my counterparts at the OCLP in Boston and doing some more deep diving into the historical references at hand, I was able to find the general materials and characteristics for many of the buildings in the plans and apply those textures to give the models just that much more variability and detail. Same goes for the ground plane textures and any missing geometry that had to be modeled.

I kept as many materials as I could uniform between all six models to give the models a level of cohesion when compared side by side.

Figure 1: A Top Down View of the 2019 Model

The Seawall

The seawall posed a frustrating challenge. There was no easy way to put it in and the contour information for each model and CAD file didn’t give me much of an idea except for where they generally might have went, indicated by overlapping contours lines at the edge of the island’s perimeter. The first seawall (implemented 1811-1842) not only expanded over time to wrap further around the island, but also changed to take into consideration the new shorelines that developed over the years as areas were filled in and land added.

 

Figure 2: Changes in the Island’s Shoreline Throughout History

Taking what information I could from historical photos and plans, I put in where I could best estimate the seawall’s location for each model. My initial idea was to offset the exterior boundary of the island 40” (as that’s the current day’s width of the seawall) and pull down the wall to create a flat edge, however, it became clear pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be a feasible strategy. The exterior of the island wasn’t coplanar and therefore the perimeter couldn’t easily be offset using the Offset Tool. I had no easy way of laying down a second line to mark the footprint of the wall.

I had used a similar technique to create the 16″ seatwalls around the island, laying down the outlines for the walls and pulling up from the mesh 14” before using the Follow Me tool to create a 2” cap on top to hide any irregularities resulting from manipulating the mesh in this way which might show in the final model. While good for the seatwalls, it didn’t seem to be working efficiently for the seawall.

My second attempt was to push/pull out the topmost layer in the mesh and then pull down to create a flat wall. Unfortunately, the edges of the mesh weren’t all rectangular or on axis. So pulling them out and down created odd angles and shapes where it did work and conspicuous gaps where it didn’t. Another bust.

The third attempt was to isolate the contour line that could best represent the wall’s location. Contour lines exist on the same plane by definition, so I was able to offset them 40” to create a ring shaped like the seawall and then pull it down straight. I eliminated areas that wouldn’t have had a seawall yet for the appropriate time periods and added a tumbled brick material to identify it as the seawall. I then moved areas of the wall up or down to be flush with the adjacent terrain. This technique, while not perfect, seemed to work the best and gave the closest representation of the wall that we were looking for. I guess it’s true what they say, third times the charm.

Figure 3: View of the 2019 Seawall

Building Treatments

After assessing the overall character of the buildings in the historical photos, I applied these general characteristics to the buildings in the models. The goal was not to model each building exactly as it had been, down to window location and doorknob – that would require more time and be much more labor intensive – but to give the idea of what these buildings looked like, adding another level of realism to the models as they move forwards. They’re no longer little wooden monopoly houses – different materials and treatments have given them a variation and depth that make the model more immersive.

Figure 5: The 1880 model after building treatments had been applied.

Planar Geometry

Besides the fort entrance, fort coping stones, and the seawall, which all six of the models were lacking, each of them required some level of further development for missing stairs, walls, or other geometry. The current day model was missing the most and I spent a fair amount of time adding any elements and details that I had noted on my field visit, including the entrance walls, fort and pedestal stairs, terreplein material pattern, and building stairs, doors, and windows.

Figure 6: Different 2019 Models

Figure 7: Yes! Progress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So where does that leave us now? Well, now I start looking at the models in Lumion, getting a feel for them, setting up vantages, applying textures, adding objects or other components, atmosphere, etc. – there’s a lot left to do. I may have to dip back into SketchUp again to make changes, but it’s pretty clear that even though modeling is mostly done, I’m going to be busy for a while.

It hasn’t exactly been an exciting two weeks, but I’m more and more satisfied with the models as they progress and I’m ready to start moving into Lumion – I mean it this time!

 

 

 

 

A Widening Cast of Characters: A Runaway Slave, a Southern Belle, and a Passionate Evangelical

By Michelle Dempsey

Figure 1: The Women of Lindenwald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the past couple of weeks, I have been digging into secondary and primary materials related to voting rights and legislation in New York, the lives of northern and southern women in the antebellum period, New York’s place in the early women’s rights movement. I have also done some thorough digging online in the attempt to locate archives related to the women of Lindenwald, especially Angelica Singleton Van Buren, Martin Van Buren’s daughter-in-law, and Christina Cantine, his beloved niece.

Figure 2: My work space varies depending upon the availability of wifi and outlets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The voting rights material has been super helpful in providing the basis of our voting history overview for fifth graders. Because the Hudson River Valley was home to Dutch-descended families who had built up quite a lot of land and wealth by the mid nineteenth century, Van Buren found himself both legally and politically in the midst of land disputes related to vast tracts of land belonging to families such as the Livingstons and Van Rensselaers and their tenants. Several small uprisings occurred in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries regarding the land charters, and by 1821, various people were calling for a convention to reform the 1777 New York State Constitution, which contained property and freehold requirements for the election of various government and public offices. Some major concerns regarding voting rights in this convention were in relation to property requirements, public/military service, and race. While the 1777 Constitution did not specify the word “white,” the 1821 revision, while lessening the property requirement for white men, required African American freeholders to possess 250 dollars in order to vote, which excluded the vast majority of free blacks in the state.

Figure 3: Title page of report on 1821 New York State Constitutional Convention, courtesy of New York State Library

An interesting figure I encountered in this research was a runaway slave named James F. Brown who fled from Maryland to the Hudson River Valley in the 1820s. He ended up on the Verplanck estate, Mount Gulian, in Fishkill, New York. After starting out as a waiter for the Verplancks, after only ten years Brown had become the estate’s master gardener and head man, earning that privileged and rare status as a middle-class African American man. As such, Brown became quite involved in helping his neighbors maintain the property requirements for voting in the state. He also became an active Whig party supporter, later switching to the Liberty Party which advocated specifically for the abolition of slavery. Much is known about Brown from the diaries he himself kept for much of the rest of his life after reaching the Hudson River Valley. Because diary-keeping meant middle-class respectability in the antebellum period, demonstrating thoughtfulness in business, public, and personal affairs, Brown’s diary, as well as his level of local and regional horticultural success, revealed a man who strove for the uplift of the free black community.

Figure 4: The book Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America (2012) by Myra Beth Young Armstead traces Brown’s life and journey from slavery to master gardener

Figure 5: Gravestone of James Brown

Figure 6: The gardens at Mount Gulian today, courtesy of dutchesstourism.com

My research into the world of Lindenwald’s women, on the other hand, has thus far been focused on Angelica Singleton Van Buren and Christina Cantine, as I had mentioned before. This focus largely stems from the significance of these two women in Van Buren’s life, as well as the interesting contrast they provide as historical characters. Angelica was born and raised in Sumter County, South Carolina, the daughter of a wealthy planter family. After finishing her education at the elite Madame Grelaud’s French School in Philadelphia, she was shortly thereafter introduced to Martin Van Buren, then president, and his eldest son Abraham, who was then serving as his secretary. This meeting, engineered largely by Angelica’s cousin Dolly Madison, would end in Angelica and Abraham’s marriage, and therefore, Angelica’s place as Van Buren’s de-facto first lady (his wife Hannah having died many years before). Angelica ran the White House, then Lindenwald for a time, but she and Abraham retired to New York City, where Angelica became involved in charity work. I have found a hint that she became interested in women’s rights (at least in relation to property and divorce) after her sister’s experiences with an abusive second husband and loss of property to that man.

 

 

 

 

While I have yet to find evidence backing that claim about her interest in women’s rights, we are yet hoping to find how Angelica felt adjusting to life in the reform-minded North after growing up in the more patriarchal and slavery-entrenched South.

Figure 7: I got the opportunity to dress as Angelica for a document donation ceremony the other week!

Figure 8: Recreating Angelica’s portrait after the ceremony

Christina Cantine was Van Buren’s niece, the daughter of his wife’s sister (also named Christina). Christina grew up in Ithaca, New York, and, inspired by the evangelical revivalism that swept through the Burned-Over District of New York in the antebellum period, Christina maintained a religious zeal throughout her life. Van Buren had called her “a lady of remarkable intelligence and strength of character, and deeply imbued with religious feeling,” and remarked in his autobiography her passionate antagonism to Indian removal in the 1830s. He recollected her saying to him one night, referencing his support of and political closeness with Andrew Jackson, “Uncle! I must say to you that it is my earnest wish that you may lose the election, as I believe that such a result ought to follow such acts!” What we are hoping to discover over the next couple of months is whether this passion extended beyond indigenous rights to rights for other groups of people. We don’t want to assume that this feeling extended to other reform, especially concerning women, but we are thinking that Christina might, out of the women we know in Van Buren’s life, be the one to perhaps demonstrate some feeling about the condition of women.

Finding Inspiration at WORI Convention Days 2019

By Victoria Elliott

A highlight from the second half of July was the Women’s Rights National Historical Park’s commemoration of the First Women’s Rights Convention. This year’s theme was “Back to Our Roots,” so the majority of the weekend’s events focused on the factors that led to the early women’s rights movement. Every year Women’s Rights National Historical Park celebrates the anniversary of the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention. This year the celebration took place on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of July. My primary task for convention days was to operate the Information Booth. The weather forecast predicted menacingly hot temperatures, so everyone was briefed on safety in the heat and how to recognize and assist someone suffering from heat stroke. Luckily there were no incidents over the weekend.

I enjoyed working at the Information Booth because I got to meet new people. Some came expressly for Convention Days weekend, while others just happened to be visiting during the commemoration. One interaction that I really valued occurred on the first day of the Convention. A woman stopped by the booth before entering the Visitor Center, and after learning that I was an intern, asked me some really great questions about how my time at the Park has impacted and inspired me. I had the opportunity to ask her questions in return, and we both parted ways with smiles on our faces. Our interaction reminded me that in touring the Park visitors can enter a dynamic relationship with history, affecting the visitor’s perspective on the future and their place within it.

 

 

Although I was working the event, I had the opportunity to attend some of the speaker’s talks. On the 19th, I attended Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner’s talk “A Most Important Conversation- Susan Goodier’s presentation “Votes for Women: Why Did it Take So Long?” in the Wesleyan Chapel She discussed the issue of racism within the women’s rights movement following the Civil War and issues of accountability in relation to the past and the present. Dr. Roesch Wagner shared that she considers herself “anti-racist and a recovering racist.” This struck me as a great way of addressing the issues of white privilege. The phrasing acknowledges racism and white privilege while expressing commitment to working against those injustices on personal and public levels.

Working with Collections from the Wright Brothers to a Weather Station

During the last couple weeks, I have been working on several research requests that are sent to my supervisor, Jami, by people associated with National Parks or just interested in learning more information. I looked through various collections in the archives and relayed the information that I found. Some of the collections that I referenced include the Hatteras Weather Bureau Station, Wright Brothers National Memorial, NC-12 Renourishment Programs, and the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

These past couple weeks, I also aided my supervisor in installing an exhibit for the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing event at Wright Brothers National Memorial. The exhibit included various First Flight Society Aviation Hall of Fame inductee portraits, a plaque describing the event of Neil Armstrong bringing pieces of the 1903 Wright flyer to the moon and back to Kitty Hawk, and molds that were used to make the gloves for astronauts. After the event, we then had to take the exhibits down, as First Flight Society members then picked up all the portraits from the Museum Resource Center to transport them to be displayed elsewhere.

Figure 1: Transporting Portraits from the Museum Resource Center

 

Alejandro’s Visit to Chamizal National Memorial

By Juan Davila

This week was very interesting and insightful to the process of museum work. Alejandro an Archivist from WACC came to the Chamizal National Memorial and guided us in the process for the creation of a Scope of Collections.  Me and my partner from LHIP learned a lot from Alejandro’s knowledge and tears of experience from working on the NPS. The previous week we focused on finding all-important non-accessioned items and the accessioned items we wanted to present to Alejandro hoping he would instruct us as to how to archive them and properly maintain them.

Figure 1: Meeting Alejandro

As mentioned before last week we went off site to the warehouse and searched for artifacts, documents, or objects that were in need of moving to proper maintaining facilities. In which they could be properly stored but also to see what things they had in the warehouse because the staff was not aware of so many objects being stored in site. Many of the objects inside the warehouse are not properly preserved or have the proper documentation. The warehouse has been the last station where the museum has stored most of the objects and it had no current purpose for the last 10 years. Here, I found many objects, ranging from old films and cassette tapes to a motorized chainsaw and even some pamphlets from a rock concert celebrated in 2000 at the Chamizal Park. Thanks to this search, we realized the paintings were not properly stationed in the room.  We ordered packets so that we could raise all the paintings in proper prevention from flooding.

After Alejandro’s visit, he concluded that we needed to finish our document describing all non-accessioned items. The document would help us better understand what objects we have in our collection and the best way to separate and catalog the different collections. It was decided that all picture frames, art and films would be sent to WACC so that they would be in a better-preserved environment. Alejandro promised he would send us box containers to store all the films and art.  He also promised that later in the summer, he would come pick them up. I continued working on the non-accessioned document the following week and organized all film we had pertaining to their years.

Figure 2: So many objects being stored on site!

 

 

Working on a Display Dedicated to the Robinson House

By Kevin Roberts

It’s been a couple of weeks since the first blog post, and I can say with complete confidence that I still have no idea what I’m doing.

I’ve been working at the Lincoln Home site for over a month now, but honestly it feels like I just got here. I can honestly say that I look forward to coming to work every day, and a large part of that is because everyone who works here is so friendly. From my supervisors to the Interp. and maintenance staffs and everyone in-between.

Over the past two weeks, I have continued to clean and organize artifacts housed in storage. Artifacts from the restoration of 18 buildings are housed in storage, and I have successfully worked through two (slow and steady wins the race, right?).

The process of working through a single building’s artifacts is more tedious than I thought it would be. It involves digging through the entire storage building to find every artifact associated with the house I am focusing on. Then, I must clean every artifact, write down detailed descriptions and give each artifact a catalog number. Finally, after finding a dedicated space in the storage building to place the artifacts, I must enter the information I wrote down into the online database. At this point, I’ve found a sort of rhythm when it comes to this process, so I’ve come to rather enjoy it.

Figure 1: An electric lighting fixture from the Robinson House

My supervisor, Susan, and I have also started a side project of putting together a display dedicated to the Robinson House. The Robinson House, which belonged to a Springfield businessman and civic leader named Henson Robinson, was built around 1859-60.

My first task for this project was to compile a list of the artifacts we could possibly use. The space we have available for the display is not large, so we are limited to some of the smaller artifacts. These include wallpaper samples, a lighting fixture, and some other decorative pieces. Our next step will be to decide on a theme for the display and create a sort of storyline with the artifacts.

Figure 2: Antenna Abe

When I’m working in the Carriage House (i.e. the storage building), I can be alone for hours on end. Thankfully, I have Antenna Abe to keep me company. He was created by a previous intern. He’s not the most talkative, but he doesn’t complain about the music or podcasts I listen to, so it could be worse.

I also managed to take the time to drive down to O’Fallon, Illinois where my grad school advisor, Dr. Susan Alt, was having her summer field school. The site she was excavating was in the middle of a corn field (pretty common in the Midwest).

They were about three weeks into the dig by the time I visited and had uncovered several house and pit features. Early interpretations of the site seem to lean towards the area having been home to a family over several generations. Dr. Alt hopes that the site will give insight into how Mississippian family life changed throughout the rise and fall of the Mississippian culture period.

Figure 3: Photo of the site (It was about to storm, andI was in a hurry, so not the best quality).

 

 

A Mix of Experience at Minute Man National Historical Park

By Kevin Roberts

Hey folks,

Sorry I’ve been sparse in my blog postings, I’ve been quite busy in my job at Minute Man. It’s good work that I’ve sincerely enjoyed, but it is quite dense work. I’ve been frontline since my training ended, and to be honest this is my first real deal 9-5 job. Between running multimedia presentations, training in period firearms, and authoring my own set of ranger talks, I have been neglecting this old blog. Without further ado, here is a kitten on a leash.

Figure 1: His name is Mimsy. Big thanks to my co-worker Liz for bringing him to the park when I was at Minuteman visitor center.

I’ve been settling into my digs at minuteman quite well. While the honeymoon and giddiness of the first couple weeks have cooled down into a routine, it lets me get a better understanding of what life will be like working park service.

 

It can get pretty varied at MIMA, and my usual work week involves a day in colonial garb in the Hartwell Tavern, followed by a day on the North Bridge, and the rest filled with time at minuteman.

The tentpost of a Hartwell tavern visit is one of our weapon demonstrations, where a ranger puts two blanks down range through a reproduction land pattern “Brown Bess” Musket. I’ve actually been training in the 1764 Manual of arms, which is the same drill used by both the British regulars and the colonial militia on April 19th, 1775. I’ll give a link to a pictorial guide here, but the idea is to get a large body of soldiers reloaded and firing in the same 15-20 second interval. I’m nowhere near that point yet, but I’m hoping to get my historic firearms certification soon.

Figure 2: Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

The next day will often be a day at Minute Man visitor center, which is where I spend the Lion’s share of my time at MIMA. The big draw here is a 25-minute short film with immersive side features, like a light-up matte painting of the old Boston skyline or the North Church. My contribution is mostly providing directions and organizing large groups of visitors to make sure things aren’t horrifically gummed up. Usually I am the guy who runs into the theater and pushes the button to get the show moving.

Figure 3: Picture of Minuteman in its olden days (you can tell because its Samuel Adams on the plinth, and not Peter Salem) source

The North Bridge is probably my favorite post at MIMA. It’s a nice shady spot with a lot to talk about and do the pointing ranger thing (just look up the facebook group “rangers pointing at things,” it is a well documented phenomena) I especially like giving ranger talks, which are semi-formal lectures in which a ranger (or in my case, ranger-adjacent) interpreter will regale viewers with their own research in a talk that ranges from 20-40 minutes in length, based on viewer engagement. I like to think I give a mean North Bridge talk, and I think I take guests a little off-guard with my really personable and semi-informal presentation style. The facts are all there, but the big lesson I learned at my last job at the House of the Seven Gables is that a lecture with no visitor rapport is forgotten by the doorstep. I don’t think people come to a hallowed historic site and expect to learn by laughing at a goofball in a boonie hat, but I’ve had repeat visitors remember me and come out to visit Ranger Roberts (as an aside, that has a heck of a ring to it.)

 

I’m enjoying my time here so much that I was a little shocked that when I filled my timesheet, I saw my end date is a mere month away! I knew I was in trouble when a visitor asked me how long I’ve been here, to which gave the usual answer “I’ve been here since May,” and I noticed people have stopped snickering when I said that.

The Busy Saint-Gaudens’ Swing of Things

By Zoe Levine

Figure 1: The Busy Saint-Gaudens’ Swing of Things

At the beginning of my internship, I didn’t really know what to expect. As the month of June went by, it became more apparent to me what it really means to be part of the National Park Service in Cultural Resources. Although many people do not think of the NPS as being focused on preserving the history of a site at first, it is one of the integral parts of interpretation of the NPS. I truly love how passionate all of the staff at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park are about their job and connecting to and learning from the other departments that work here. This has given me the ability to think more about my future and what it would look like within the National Park Service. I can honestly say I can imagine myself working in the National Park Service in the future, especially in Cultural Resources!

 

One of the things I have really appreciated is how much the Park Service has done to make sure that the interns here connect to one another. Because of how close Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is to Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, we are able to go to the other park and meet other workers and interns there. Although I have been mostly completing work in galleries, the historic home, Aspet, or in the curatorial building itself, I still have had the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do normally in my department. This has included attending leadership sessions with the other Interns. For one of these sessions we were able to hike up Mt. Tom (at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller) which I do not get to do on an every day basis as a Curatorial Intern! I felt so accomplished by being able to hike up and see the Vermont countryside and made me appreciate the work I am doing this summer even more.

Figure 2: Standing a Top Mount Tom and Waxing the Shaw Memorial

Another amazing thing I have been able to experience through this internship is being able to learn how to clean and wax bronze reliefs and sculptures. In my last blog post, I was learning and working on small bronze reliefs, but as the summer progressed, I was able to clean and wax one of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ famous bronze sculptures, The Shaw Memorial. Being able to work on a skill I have wanted to develop since the beginning of the summer was awesome. Preservation of art is so meaningful to historians because it allows the idealism and culture of generations in the past to be interpreted and understood in a modern context, while also analyzing what it meant in the past. That is the number one reason that learning preservation skills is so necessary to me. Being able to maintain this art for the future is an incredible experience I would not want to change.

 

As July came, everything started to pick up even more. With more visitors coming to the park as the summer progressed, there were more things we needed to do in Cultural Resources, including cleaning the spaces that visitors go into. Dusting and vacuuming may not be the most glamorous job ever, but it allows visitors to have the best experience at the park possible, and allows for the history to really be seen by visitors.

 

I also got to experience something else I have been looking forward to accomplishing this summer: working on developing exhibits! The other interns and I began to work on our very own exhibit for the Visitor’s Center, but that got put on hold when we were asked to help put together the Curators’ exhibit he had been working on about Augusta Saint-Gaudens (the wife of artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens). Augusta Saint-Gaudens was a woman who held her own, having her own paintings and experiences. Being able to help out with an exhibit that highlights her in this way made me happy. Also, with the exhibit opening in a week, I really was able to see what work was needed to be put into getting an exhibit ready for the public. I learned how to hang paintings in a gallery space and placing objects into exhibit cases (and all the math that it includes!). I also was able to learn how to mount art into a frame and also how to make and mount exhibit labels. Another thing that made me feel accomplished was helping get some of the heavier objects into the gallery space, including two historic trunks that had never been on exhibit before.

Figure 3: Mapping out where Art Should Hang & One of the Exhibit Cases

Once we finished the exhibit, we all felt so accomplished. Everything I have been able to complete so far in this internship has allowed me to develop skills and experiences I am so proud of. It is hard to believe that my internship is over halfway over at this point, but I am very excited to see what else there is in store for me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and will be forever grateful for the work I have been able to participate in.

Figure 4: The finished Augusta Exhibit

Figure 5: Sneak peek at some of my research!

 

 

 

 

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