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Yachts and Tannins

Yachts and Tannins

by: Alexa Rose

Hi! This is Alexa again the ACE/CRDIP intern from the San Francisco Maritime Museum. For the past two weeks I have really delved into my research with the yacht “Ku’uipo”. The Baby Bird/Golden Gate class yacht “Ku’uipo” was designed to be a racing yacht based on the original Bird class design. It was originally made we think in 1937 by George Wayland, which I found the original receipt for the vessels construction. It has been hours of pouring through yachting magazines of the time, architectural folders and yachting yearbooks as seen below with me in the park’s library.

I have also been searching through all the local newspapers looking for any mention of the yacht. I was able to find many articles featuring the yacht’s racing history and all of her numerous wins (see below for some of the articles I found)! It is absolutely incredible to look through the pages of history and find an artifact I work on everyday.

I plan to continue researching this craft by going through the original architects folders more and then finally writing the history up in a final artifact report for the vessel. But, within conservation not all the work is researching in libraries. On a daily basis I can go from doing work with tanic acid to prevent rust (pictured below), putting borates in the vessel to prevent wood rot or simply trying to find the best way to photograph the vessel (also pictured below)

My day to day life is varied and full of adventure. One of my favorite parts of the week has been talking to the lead conservator about tannic acid. I thought it was really interesting that the natural tannins in trees could help prevent the natural rust. It foams and becomes black when it is ready (see below for a demonstration). This is what we use to treat all of the bolts in the Ku’uipo before it’s conservation is complete to preserve the historic fabric and provide future care for the metal.

I can not express how much joy it gives me to care for this piece of history. Every day I remember I am helping future generations be able to see and understand these artifacts. As so much of our history fades every day it is reassuring to know that I can help this artifact survive.

Where Do Artifacts Go?

Where Do Artifacts Go?

by: Mariah Walzer

These past two weeks have been a jumble of different duties and experiences, so trying to find a theme for this week’s blog post felt a little daunting. But then I realized that much of the work centered on what happens to artifacts and other objects after they are discovered.

For example, I spent a day doing my best to identify the artifacts we found during our surveys the last few weeks. As I mentioned in my previous post, identifying the types of projectile points can be very useful, because the types can suggest or confirm dates for the site. I managed to identify fairly confidently two of the projectile points (a Madison point and a Bare Island point) but the quartzite point could be any of four different types. We also found some pieces of bone that I think are turtle shell fragments, though I’m not 100% sure.

Bone fragments found during survey. The jagged edges (known as sutures, where bones will eventually fuse together) and the shallow lines across the top of the bones suggest that these may be pieces of a turtle shell.

Microscopic close-up of the suture edge of one of the bone pieces.

In archaeology, you learn to be okay with unknowns and maybes. We can’t go back in time and ask the peoples we study, so often we are just throwing out our best guesses based on the things we do know, observed behaviors of other people (called ethnography), and our own common sense. It’s kind of like trying to draw the missing piece in a puzzle – you know roughly what it should be based on the pieces around it, but you can never know exactly what it looked like. Because of this, critical thinking and a healthy amount of skepticism are essential for an archaeologist!

My notes from trying to identify this quartzite point. Its common shape and broken tip and left shoulder contribute to the difficulty in identifying this point.

This past week, I spent time at the Museum Resource Center for the Capital Region of the NPS. I learned how to clean artifacts to prepare them for study and storage. Each artifact material type – faunal, lithic, ceramic, fabric, metal, and more – has to be cleaned and cared for in the best way to preserve it. For tough materials like lithics and glass, they can be washed with water and a toothbrush. But bone and metal should not be exposed to water, so they must be dry-brushed.

Projectile points are cleaned with water and gentle toothbrush scrubbing.

After artifacts are cleaned, they are put in bags that are labelled with locational information. The bags also have holes poked in them so that changes in humidity will not hurt the artifacts.

Then I learned how to catalogue artifacts, so that we know what have, where the artifacts came from, and where we can find them in the storage facility. This is a tedious process, but it is very useful for future researchers. There are millions of artifacts stored in the Museum Research Center so knowing where to find the horseshoes from Monocacy, for example, is essential.

In addition to these artifact-centered experiences, I also helped clean a monument, attended an orientation for NPS Cultural Resources interns in Washington DC, and dug my first shovel test pits (small holes dug to determine the soil layers of an area and to check for the presence of significant archaeological sites). Every day really is a new experience here!

The Pennsylvania Monument post-cleaning. The bronze plaque near the bottom still needs to be re-waxed; the greenish areas on the horses’ backs are where the wax has come off due to sun exposure.

A shovel test pit (STP).

All the dirt from an STP is screened for artifacts. When we finish digging and documenting a test pit, the screened dirt goes back into the hole.

It’s been a great start to my summer!

It’s been a great start to my summer!

By: Jessica Analoro

Photo taken on Derby Wharf

It’s been a great start to my summer so far in Salem, Massachusetts! As a brief introduction, my name is Jessica Analoro, and I am currently an education/interpretation and public history intern at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. As I just finished the third week of this internship, there has definitely been a lot to reflect on and I have accomplished so much so far. This internship centers mainly on research, but I have also been observing school groups for education programs and workshops, meeting all of the staff at different levels at the park and have been able to visit a couple of really awesome places. What my role is for the duration of this internship is to do research on a compilation of crew lists assembled for an American merchant vessel called Friendship, which sailed from 1797-1812 on 15 international voyages.

My supervisor at the park gave me this book (amongst many others) to make me more familiar with the subject matter (and as you can see by my multi-colored sticky-notes, I have been utilizing it as my main secondary reference material, which has been especially helpful before beginning archival research).

The park currently maintains the replica of the 1797 vessel (which is actually off site at the moment as it is being repaired). The ship represents an important part of our national history, as Salem was one of the leading international trading ports in the United States by the end of the 1800s. The park currently has an education program in place that allows for students to reflect and learn about international trade and to interact with what would have been sailor’s objects at the time. However, we are hoping to put some real names and information about some of the people who were on the ship—who they were, where they came from, who their family was—in order for students to better connect to the history of the Friendship.

I have been fortunate enough to be close to several local and regional resources that will help me for commit to exciting research. I have started looking through crew lists, ship and fishing licenses, vital records and genealogical resources in order to try and pinpoint some of the names that we have. I have already visited the National Archives and Records Administration in Waltham, Massachusetts to help me get started. They were wonderful in assisting me and guiding me through some of the material. The photo to the left is a crew list from 1806 for the Friendship.

Another great local resource has been the Philips Library, a research library which is part of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem Massachusetts. After recently re-opening in a new location, the library invited park staff to visit and look at part of the collection related to the park’s history. I took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to go through the finding aids to determine if any of the family papers they maintain could be used for my research (photo below). They have been gracious enough to allow me to return to continue my research. I am hoping it will help in the process of detangling the early genealogical research—where 99% of the time, five generations of males of course have the same first and last name.

Between archival resource and program observation, I have had the awesome opportunity to work in an office building which was built in 1780.

The next several weeks will consist of more research and hopefully many more great experiences and interactions with the park staff and the outstanding historical resources the North Shore has to offer!

The Klondike Gold Rush in Washington, D.C.

The Klondike Gold Rush

By: Alysha Page

Introduction: A Medievalist turned Afro-Americanist

My first day out on assignment to view how the public interacts with National Parks. FDR Monument, Washington, D.C

First things first, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Alysha Page, I am a current PhD student at Howard University, Washington D.C. I received both my B.A. and M.A. from Ball State University in Medieval history before obtaining my M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from Tufts University (Yes, I am very aware I have been in school too long). I changed my area of study from the periphery of Medieval English history to the periphery of American history because the voices of so many people of color are still lost in the archives or are being silenced by the lack archival material and interest. It is my civic duty as a Black historian to give these men and women a space to speak through the records and material culture they left behind.

I am the incoming Research Historian working with the Klondike Gold Rush National Park Service with their Buffalo Soldiers 24 th Infantry, Company L project. Over the last few months I have done quite a bit of work on the Buffalo Soldiers and am excited to continue my work doing ground breaking research into one of the many groups of heroes in American history. For the next few months I will be researching in Washington, D.C. before I travel to Skagway, Alaska to work onsite with the wonderful members of NPS.

Untold Stories of American Heroes

I would also like to introduce the Buffalo Soldiers, the first all-Black Army regiment in U.S. history. The Buffalo soldiers were among the first park rangers patrolling untamed terrain and parts of the West. Following the  Civil War and the Emancipation proclamation, in 1866 Congress authorized the formation of six all Black regiments (from The United States Colored Troops) which would later be consolidated down to just four regiments (9th, 10th, 24th, & 25th). From the 1860s to the early 1890s four black regiments were stationed in the West to protect white settlers whilst also protecting themselves from the harsh realities of being Black in a nation that had not accepted or welcomed their existence. The Buffalo Soldiers were sent to harsher climates and terrains from extreme heat to extreme cold. They were paradoxically considered resilient and strong as well as lazy, undisciplined, and cowardly by their white counterparts. Even with low expectations and low funding and resources they laid the foundations for many National Parks and surpassed all expectations.

Buffalo Soldiers in Dyea prepare halibut for a fresh meal for their army unit.
Photo courtesy of the

History has nearly forgotten the Buffalo Soldiers and the wonderful leaders like Col. Charles Young and their service in Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and most important for my project Skagway and Dyea Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. The NPS is doing wonderful work to reveal and retell these stories. I will be looking at the lives and service of Company L, 24th Infantry on “the Last Frontier” in Southeast Alaska. During my time working with the Klondike Gold Rush NPS I hope to be able to help bring to life the stories and everyday lives of hundreds of soldiers and families that once called Skagway, Alaska home starting in 1899.

To find out more on the Buffalo Soldiers in Skagway, please visit

My American Conservation Experience Swag and the Smoked Salmon from Skagway, Alaska (yumm)

My first two weeks of my position at the Department of the Interior was very short but sweet. I was introduced to all my wonderful coworkers and future friends. Unfortunately, for my first blog post I don’t have much to share. The days and hours were spent navigating the technological hurdles of becoming a part of the team as well as the varied ways to communicate with the three institutions I must be in contact with for my position (NPS, CRDIP, ACE). The lesson learned is never remain quite when concerned or confused about the goals of your project or your role. Seek clarity and always be transparent. Your team is there to help you succeed. I also learned ends and outs of the building as well as navigating working and research in Washington D.C. while my team are thousands of miles away in Alaska. I am pleased to have such a wonderful team and I can’t wait to see how the project develops.

The lovely view of Washington, D.C. from the top of the DOI building where I’ll be working for the next few months.

One last thing before I go, I did want to note that this week (20 June-27 June) I am blessed to be able to be in Preston, UK to present at a Women’s conference. I say this to let any incoming intern know that even though we are starting new positions never be afraid to ask your team and administration to pursue other career paths and dreams. They are amazingly helpful and supportive. GO FOR IT!

Anchors Away!

Anchors Away!

Alexa Rose


I am Alexa recent graduate of a B.A in Anthropology and Classical Civilizations from Arizona State University. This summer I have the privilege of interning at the San Francisco Maritime Museum.

It has been a really fun first two weeks! I got to captain two historic boats out on the San Francisco Bay! One thing that I noticed is how excited people on the shore and on other boats get when they see these beautiful old boats.

Also, the views of the city while on the water are absolutely incredible.

But, even though I get to go on these incredible sails the day to day life down on Hyde Street Pier is a bit different. Most of the boats we work on live in the collection or are being repaired at the small boats shop. It could be anything from repainting boats, repairing historic fabric or sanding the seams and old paint. It is a really different type of conservation then I am used to. Small artifacts are so easy to access what the problems to conserve are, but on such a large artifact such as a boat the problems are not as easily seen and require ample planning in order to make the boat useable again.

The only problem I have had so far is the cold! Coming from sunny Arizona I have been wearing almost four layers to stay warm, but when sailing it sometimes still is not enough. Mark Twain was right when he said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

I think I will get used to the cold soon, at least that’s what everyone says! Honestly, it is all worth it when knowing that we are saving historic artifacts or as I like to say “saving the world conserving one rotting boat at a time”. Some highlights from the past few weeks have been watching the sea lions who live on the dock next to the small boats. They laze around everyday and sigh every time I come to clean the boats then swiftly take off into the water. They are so lazy I have nicknamed one of them “anchor”, but to his credit sometimes he does do a bit of yoga to stay fit!

One of the most inspiring parts of my internship was that I got to march with the Park Rangers from all around the Bay Area in the Pride Parade. As a person who identifies as part of the LGBT+ community the march made me feel welcomed and loved within the ranger community.

Well that is about all! Anchors away for me at the Maritime Museum and I will update all of you readers soon!

-Alexa Rose (“Captain” and Conservation Intern of the Small Boat Shop)

P.S. I think the Maritime Museum looks like a giant smiley face.

Acadia Trails: It’s a Lifestyle, NOT a Gig!

Acadia Trails: It’s a Lifestyle, NOT a Gig!

After spending the week at Acadia National Park last week, I will never look at another hiking trail the same way again.


The third day of our trip was all about trails. The morning kicked off with an introduction to the history and creation of Acadia’s extensive and highly crafted system of hiking trails, led by Margie Coffin Brown, who worked at the Olmsted Center for many years before starting her current position as the Integrated Resources Manager at Minute Man NHP. While with OCLP, Margie authored a Cultural Landscape Report on the hiking trails of Acadia, called Pathmakers. I had a chance to read through some of the report over the course of our week in Acadia, and, man, it is one heck of a document! Seriously, if you ever go hiking in Acadia, I encourage you to pick up a copy (or read it here). It details the history and characteristics of every single trail in the park, so you can learn the age and design ethos behind any trail you visit.

What came next was by far my favorite part of our trip to Acadia: getting to learn about the maintenance and care of the park’s trails from Acadia’s own Trails Foreman, Gary Stellpflug! We started out with a visit to the park’s trails workshop, a fascinating place full of character and history. The walls are lined with old trail signs from the park, which we all thoroughly enjoyed gawking at.

Afterward, we hit the trails! With Gary as our guide, we hiked up the Jordan Pond Trail to see some trail maintenance work in action. Several members of the trails crew were stationed at various sections along the trail and were working to improve it by installing new stone checks, creating “Jordan Pond style header walls,” and building new causeways. The new or improved features will help prevent the trail from washing out or eroding during large storms.

Seeing how these features are constructed gave me an immense appreciation for the hard work and design that goes into them. We learned how the trails team uses hi-lines that are rigged up to the trees to carry granite boulders, many of which weigh several hundred pounds, down the mountain to the desired location. The boulders have to be drilled or hammered to the right size and shape and then wrestled into their carefully chosen place in the trail. We also saw several exposed design features that hikers don’t normally get to see when the finished trail is covered over with dirt, such as the crushed stones and retaining walls that help the trails drain water and hold their shape.

It’s intensely physical work, but it also requires a high level of skill and craftsmanship. The beautiful design of the park’s trails and attention to detail was astounding. At one point, we even watched one member of the trails team transplant moss from the surrounding forest to create a subtle border that delineates the trail from the forest, while blending seamlessly into the natural surroundings.

A member of the Acadia trails team transplants moss to create a border along the trail.

Above all,  what really came through during our time with Gary was his passion and heartfelt dedication to his work. While Gary has worked at Acadia for over 30 years now, and getting to spend every day on the park’s hiking trails is a definite perk, he was careful to convey that he doesn’t work for the National Park Service because it’s fun. “It’s not a ‘gig,’” he told us repeatedly, while holding back tears. “It’s a lifestyle.” Gary does what he does, because he cares deeply and wholeheartedly about Acadia National Park and the mission of the National Park Service. This is a common thread I have seen in everyone I have met so far who works for the National Park Service and one of the most inspiring aspects of being an intern here. I hope to someday find myself in a career that I can dedicate myself to as fully and passionately.

Thanks for showing us the way, Gary!

Until next time,


Boston, its not just a Band

Boston, its not just a Band

by: Danielle Kronmiller

When I arrived in Boston, my basic familiarity with the city was sourced from various history books and the classic rock band that takes its name. Now, nearing the end of my second week here as the Curator’s Assistant with Boston National Historical Park, I can happily report that my foremost familiarity has come from first-hand experience, and I am loving every bit of it!

View of Downtown Boston from one of the piers in
Charlestown Navy Yard, where I am living and working

Before sharing more about my experiences here so far, I think it is important that we officially meet. My name is Danielle Kronmiller, and I graduated with a Master’s in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland this past December. Prior to my journey across the Atlantic, I received my Bachelor’s degree in History from Truman State University in my home state of Missouri. I have worked in a special collections library, on exhibitions, and in various behind-the-scenes and front of house capacities within museums. My primary responsibility as the ACE CRDIP Curator’s Assistant intern is assisting with the annual inventory of the Park’s museum collections of over 400,000 objects, and I couldn’t be more excited to take it on!

Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard

My initial introduction to the project was a tour of collections storage, housed in an appropriately historic building. The Boston National Historical Park manages and partners with properties all over Boston, including Downtown, South Boston, and – the home base of my project – the Charlestown Navy Yard. In operation from 1800 to 1974, the Charlestown Navy Yard boasts one of the nation’s first dry docks for ship repair and is the present home of the USS Constitution – the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship – and the USS Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer. Many of the Naval buildings are preserved, managed, and used by BNHP. The Park’s collections encompass much of the Navy Yard’s history, including photographs, archival materials, shipyard materials and more, as well as collections that relate to the other sites connected to the Park. It has been enlightening learning about the collections while living and working in the Charlestown Navy Yard; though they are now properly stored and preserved as museum objects rather than used as working materials, they live within their original context, giving me a stronger appreciation of the site as a once functioning shipyard for the U.S. Navy. (Check out for more, or I will definitely keep writing…)

The USS Constitution docked at Charlestown Navy Yard

It is important to use white cotton gloves when handling many museum objects to prevent the transfer of harmful oils and residue from your hands

Getting (gloved) hands on with the management of such an extensive and varied collection has been a wonderful learning experience so far, and we are only in the beginning stages. The purpose of the annual inventory is to ensure accountability and proper collections management here at the Park. It involves locating an extensive list of objects and records within the collections generated by the Park’s collections database, checking their condition, and updating their documentation. In some cases, the inventory lists do not already include the location information for an item, and it was up to the curator and I to determine the location. The first few days of my internship were spent cross-referencing the computer database with manual catalog information including catalog cards, accession books and accession files to develop the list of locations to check when going into the collection stores.

What is an accession in the context of museum collections? The addition of a new item to an existing collection, by loan, gift, purchase or field collection. Museum collections, and the processes for managing them, were established long before we had computers, and it is vital to maintain up to date paper files in addition to our modern databases. They provide an invaluable back up of information, and they are often extremely helpful in determining additional knowledge about collections. Following the initial creation of the location list, I went back through accession files for particular accessions and objects to find out more about them, like their catalog numbers, and what they look like – very helpful when looking for one insignia pin in a drawer of many!

After generating the inventory lists, we were able to move into the stores and begin looking for our objects, a process that, as you can imagine within a collection so large, takes some time! Referencing back to the inventory lists, the curator and I commenced with archival records, often locating individual documents within boxes of many papers. This process speaks to the immense importance of documentation within museums. Proper documentation makes access possible, whether locating an object to put on exhibition in one of the Park’s museums or visitor centers or finding a specific pamphlet to answer a researcher’s question. The things that go on behind the scenes ensure you are able to have an interesting learning experience when visiting the Park or other museums!

Using manual catalog cards and accession files to add to the inventory lists

Once we locate an object, we confirm that the information on file is correct, make updates if necessary, check its condition, and continue on in this process that will endure through the summer. Though it may sound repetitive, it is fascinating to see and handle such a variety of historical artifacts. From old photographs, to architectural drawings, to massive anchor chains, I have seen and learned much more in this first week and a half than I could have imagined – and that’s just working on the inventory!

Part of the experience of being an ACE CRDIP intern is visiting other National Park Service sites and cultural repositories in the area. One of my favorite experiences thus far has been my visit to the Boston African American National Historic Site. I visited the Museum of African American History and toured their current exhibit on Frederick Douglass who is, as I discovered, the most photographed American of the 19th century. Even more interesting was discovering the intentionality Douglass, famed orator and abolitionist, maintained in the way he was photographed. In addition to the exhibit, I received a tour of the African Meeting House, a central location of the historic African American community and abolitionists in Boston.

The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, the starting point for the Black Heritage Trail tour

Following my visit to the museum, I took an hour and a half walking tour, guided by an NPS ranger, of the Black Heritage Trail. The trail leaves from the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial at the edge of Boston Common and traverses through the Beacon Hill neighborhood, the home of the free black community of Boston in the 19th century. This has been the most striking site visit I have made so far. The tour covered topics of abolition, equal schooling, the Underground Railroad, and more, introducing me to fascinating historical figures that, otherwise, I would never have known. The Black Heritage Trail tour highlights an incredibly important aspect of Boston’s, and the nation’s, history that is so often glanced over in textbooks and shadowed by the spotlight of more widely known historic sites in the city. Emphasizing diversity in history is fundamental – there are so many stories to tell in order to weave together the whole complicated tapestry. If ever in Boston, the Black Heritage Trail tour should be on your list.

My very thematic blogging set up

Though I could go on and on about my experiences up to now, I suppose I need to save a bit for future posts and keep this at a reasonable length! Nearing the end of two weeks in this new city, I am simultaneously feeling like a seasoned Bostonian and marveling at all I have yet to discover and experience. I am eager to continue the inventory process and delve further into the BNHP’s collections, and I cannot wait to explore more historic and cultural sites here in Boston. On top of it all, I look forward recording and sharing my experiences here, and hope that I am able to truly convey the excitement and history that surrounds me here!

Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

by Clare Flynn

Happy New Year, everyone!

Things are starting to get back to normal at the Olmsted Center after the holidays as the snow outside from the recent “bomb cyclone” begins to melt during a little 30+ degree heat wave we’re having in Boston. I’m now the only intern left from our merry band of summer interns, but I’m very happy to report that my internship has been extended, and I’ll be sticking around for a few more months to continue my work with the CRSAs for  parks in the region.

There are a lot of fascinating new projects ahead for OCLP in 2018, but I want to take us back to 2017 briefly for today’s post.  Before the holidays, Bob Page, Director of the Olmsted Center, and I had the privilege of taking a trip down to Philadelphia to complete one of the last steps before we finish the CRSA for Independence National Historical Park: a meeting with the full team of staff who have been part of the effort to assess the current conditions and program health of cultural resources at Independence National Historical Park.

After months of trading emails and conducting hours of phone calls with park and regional archaeologists, historic architects, landscape architects, ethnographers, museum specialists, historians, archivists, etc., it was so exciting to finally meet this very skilled and knowledgeable group of people face-to-face. During our meeting, the team had a chance to review the findings of the assessment and discuss broad management topics that affect all cultural resource types, such as Section 106 compliance, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), NAGPRA compliance (Native American Graves Repatriation Act), and climate stressors.

Perhaps the most important result of our efforts was being able to work with this multidisciplinary team to determine several priority actions for the park to pursue in the months and years ahead based on areas of need we had identified.

Prior to our meeting, I also had the opportunity to spend a full day exploring the park. The park’s Chief of Cultural Resources, Doris Fanelli, organized a full day of activities and meetings for me, starting with a private tour of the Bishop White House and the portrait gallery housed inside the Second Bank of the United States. Although the temperatures had dropped down to the teens outside, there were some definite perks of visiting the park on a cold, winter day: there were only 11 people on the usually crowded tour of Independence Hall, and I got to enjoy a private visit of Congress Hall when no one else turned up for the normally scheduled talk. From there, I explored many of the other sites that were open to the public, including Congress Hall, Old City Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and Franklin Court.

Independence Square

The Second Bank of the United States

Inside the Bishop White House

The Assembly Room inside Independence Hall

From there, I was treated to an “insider” view of the park, as Doris had scheduled me to meet with several members of the park staff. First, I got to sit down with Andrew McDougall, the park’s special event coordinator. I wrote my master’s dissertation on the use of historic buildings and sites as filming locations (Read a summary here), so I was particularly interested in talking to Andrew about his experiences coordinating special use permits for filming activity in the park.

Next, I visited the architectural study collection with Museum Specialist Nicole Altman. Coming from a background in architectural conservation, I was fascinated by this treasure trove of original fragments from buildings in the park as well as molds and reproductions that have been used in restoration work.

Lastly, Nicole and I met with the park’s historical architect, Winston Clement, who helped us end the day on a few literal high notes. He first took us up the tower of the Merchant’s Exchange Building. Originally built between 1832 and 1843, the magnificent Greek Revival building was the financial center for Philadelphia in the 19th century, housing commercial houses, marine insurance companies, the Philadelphia Board of Trade, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Merchants would climb its tower to watch ships come in. During our visit, we were able to enjoy the same view and observe the tower’s unique construction and internal bracing.

While that was an unforgettable experience by itself, the best was certainly saved for last: a trip up the bell tower of Independence Hall. The tower has been demolished, altered, and restored a number of times since the building was originally constructed between 1732 and 1753. From inside, we could see physical traces of the many phases of its life and view the mechanisms that operate the clocks on its exterior. Our visit was perfectly timed to fully experience this ingenious piece of engineering. As the sun set and the clock struck 5 o’clock, the clock mechanism sprang to life, and with the whirring of gears and chiming of bells, I said goodbye to Winston and a magical day at Independence National Historical Park.

IMG_1083Merchant’s Exchange Building 

The Independence Hall bell tower

The clock mechanism inside the tower of Independence Hall




Clare Flynn | January 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Categories: 2018, CRSA, Independence NHP, OCLP | URL:

Geospatial Surveys in the San Juan Islands

In August of 2017, the National GPS Program Coordinator for the National Park Service joined San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) staff members to conduct geospatial surveys at both American Camp and English Camp—the two units of the park located at opposite ends of San Juan Island, Washington. After setting up base stations and additional markers at strategic points near the park’s numerous shorelines, the advanced spatial equipment used will allow park staff to inventory and monitor environmental change over time with an extremely high degree of precision—often within millimeters of accuracy.

Sea level rise, ecosystem exploitation, and unsustainable urban development are issues of increasing concern for cultural and natural resource managers throughout the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea engaged in the preservation and conservation of maritime heritage landscapes. With the arrival of European and American colonial settlers and the displacement of Coast Salish peoples from their traditional landscapes since the nineteenth century, maritime resources have been extracted as lucrative commodities. Voices calling for the preservation and conservation of shoreline ecosystems have challenged San Juan Island NHP to look for new ways to enhance and improve park management systems. The data collected will be used by researchers in years to come, primarily to monitor shoreline erosion and the health of landscapes that are critically endangered.

For more information on the Inventory and Monitoring Program at San Juan Island NPH, visit


Battlefield (Shipwreck) Nomination, final post

I successfully completed every shipwreck nomination assigned to me during my last two weeks of the internship. Our team decided to combine two of the wreck-sites, U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee, into one battlefield site nomination. U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee were both engaged and sank due to the same war related conflict. Since both shipwrecks are within close proximity of one another and were involved in the same battle, the site can be justified as a battlefield site. Battlefield nominations are more complex than single site nominations, because they require extra research, time, and supporting evidence to prove the site to be an unequivocal icon of historical significance. This nomination is particularly special to me, because of the intense amount of research and writing that went into telling this amazing story.

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

At the end of my 10-week internship, I am proud to say that I accomplished what I set out to do and complete all 9 of my shipwreck nominations for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The majority of the shipwreck nominations sank in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Each nomination is more than a shipwreck site, but also a story of our past deserving to be told, remembered, and preserved for future generations to experience. Producing nominations for the NRHP is important, because if nobody is willing to tell the story then it could be lost forever.

  • SS Halo
  • SS M. Parker Jr.
  • SS Alcoa Puritan
  • SS Gulfpenn
  • SS Virginia
  • SS Robert E. Lee & U-166
  • MV Sheherazade
  • SS Gulfoil
  • Steam Yacht Anona

Through this internship I have enhanced my skills as a researcher, writer, editor, and my overall professionalism. In the future, I hope to work again with the amazing teams at the American Conservation Experience (ACE), AmeriCorps, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of the Interior (DOI), and the National Park Service (NPS).



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Weeks seven to eight were very busy. I spent much of the time researching, editing, proofing, and tweaking the nomination. Some of the shipwreck data previously gathered was in a variety of stages, some of which were outdated and incorrectly cited, or no longer available. I found that the Library of Congress is an extremely valuable national resource for examining primary source historical information.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During Week 8 I was given the chance to visit the Washington Navy Yard Museums. It was a fantastic experience, getting to see so many pieces of naval history displayed and properly cared for. Some exhibits were in the process of being exchanged out for new pieces, which was very encouraging to see how popular the museums are within the community. The first museum my group visited was the Cold War museum, which was incredibly informative on a subject that I found myself knowing surprisingly little about.

ACE capstone presentation


Last Friday, September 22, I gave my final presentation of my work to several staff at Cuyahoga Valley National Park covering all of the deliverables I have produced in my eleven weeks with NPS. To review some of my “stats” during my service, I completed a National Register of Historic Places nomination form, created a spreadsheet of archaeological data for Cuyahoga Valley National Parks prehistoric sites, drafted a new site discovery form, wrote a summary of the various prehistoric and historic Outstanding Remarkable Values (ORVs), discovered and documented four new sites within the park, updated five archaeological site forms, and cataloged eleven newly discovered artifacts. Needless to say, I was very busy during my internship!

My 11 weeks with Cuyahoga Valley National Park was a very special time for me. I learned a lot about the application of archaeology within the National Park Service, how sites are managed and preserved from a federal perspective, and saw the various facets of archaeology and historic preservation at work. Bill Hunter, my site supervisor, was amazing and very attentive to my project progress. I would not have been able to do my work as efficiently without his help every step of the way. I enjoyed going into the office, going into the field, and every minute I was serving NPS, and I’ve taken many lessons from this experience, from erosion control to conducting meetings.

Now that I’ve completed my American Conservation Experience, I’ve been busy analyzing potsherds and lithics from the Fort Ancient and Newark earthworks as part of the Ohio History Fund grant that the University of Akron received this past March. I’ve also been busy coordinating events and program for the non-profit Stewards of Historical Preservation, of which I am now president. Now, every time I go for a hike, I take each step with a new perspective thanks to ACE and my experience at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During weeks 5 and 6, I needed to do more in depth research, specifically focusing on data found in shipping records of merchant shipping companies during World War II. These records can be tricky to find, and in some cases classified and not published on the internet. To do this research I needed to visit the National Archives and The Library of Congress, located in Washington, DC. Incorporating the information from these documents provides a stronger case in explaining the over significance of the shipwreck, both during their career and potential for future archaeological research.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.




Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) reading up on previous research done with BOEM’s Environmental Program Division. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

During my third and fourth weeks working at BOEM, I was given the opportunity to attend weekly staff meetings discussing a variety of topics within each branch of the Division of Environmental Assessment in the Office of Environmental Programs (OEP/DEA). The OEP/DEA includes research in a variety of topics from oil spill modeling, and marine life protection to oceanography and maritime archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico. This gave me a deeper understanding of how important the other areas are in the bigger picture. I finished creating maps displaying the suggested site boundaries for the shipwreck nominations. It was important to create the boundaries in a geo-rectified ArcGIS map to give precise coordinates and measurements of the sites.  After the map boundaries were created and scaled appropriately, the points were added to the shipwreck nomination database. Images and charts were added to the database.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

 Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

The William H. Hunt Estate

The William H. Hunt Estate

By Eric C. Olson

During the last two weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of learning about one of Cleveland’s unsung civic heroes, William H. Hunt. Hunt was a huge entrepreneur in Northeast Ohio, who got his start working at what would eventually become First Merit Bank in Akron, and eventually becoming the president of the Cleveland Life Insurance Company. Hunt is an uncredited funder and supporter of the Hiram House, the first settlement house in Ohio, and a prominent founder of the St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland. Hunt was also selected as the president of the Cuyahoga County Centennial Celebration of 1910. I had the opportunity to go to the Western Reserve Historical Society and read Hunt’s letters to Teddy Roosevelt and Glenn Curtis. Roosevelt declined, in a very presidential way, to attend the ceremony, but Glenn Curtis personally spoke in Cleveland and had the first airplanes land in Cleveland thanks to William Hunt’s efforts.

I could go on about how interesting William Hunt was, but the estate itself is an amazing historic mining landscape that William Hunt transformed into his millionaire’s estate, Terraced Lakes. I have hiked around the estate several times and photographed the contributing elements of this National Register (NRHP) eligible property. I have been working on writing the NRHP nomination form for Terraced Lakes these past two weeks, among other projects. The mining landscape is just as incredible as the twin lakes and dam that William Hunt erected to manage the water on his property in the 1920s. I did not figure I would see “pyramids” in the Cuyahoga Valley, but some of the spoil piles from the mining operations of H. C. Currier in the 1870s are twice my size composed of waste sandstone that never made it to out of the quarry. These quarries were among the many of Independence, Ohio, that literally formed the foundation stones of Cleveland’s first buildings.

In the coming two weeks I hope to finish my first draft of the NRHP nomination form, with all of the data I have collected on the historic quarry and the Terraced Lakes Estate.

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

Leah’s blog August 4 and beyond part II

August 4th and Beyond Part II

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

At the end of my internship we had a Youth Summit at Marsh Billings with interns from SCA and VYCC. This was a wrap-up for all interns where we could meet each other and give a presentation on our summer internship so that everyone could see the work that we have done. It was a great way to get in touch with other organizations and to see other areas within a park service and the needs that it requires. We also got to know each other through games and making homemade pizza and by taking a mini nature hike. Afterwards we got meet up with Mary-Ann to see and tour the archives for Marsh Billings.



OUR HOMER EXHIBIT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! Towards the end we were worried that we were not going to finish in time but we did. Through hard work and dedication Abigail, Elizabeth, and I were able to finish the exhibit. Our research from Rauner paved the way to create an indepth story of Homer Saint-Gaudens that will give the audience a view and glimpse into his life. Countless time was spent on editing to make sure that the information was both correct and in chronological order. Once done, Elizabeth and Henry reviewed our work and made sure that it was correct. Afterwards we printed it out and mounted it on foam core. We then went on to gather the objects for the exhibit and made tombstone labels that give all the necessary information about the objects. Once everything was done we gathered boxes that we would use to transport the items to be set up on friday which is opening day.


Leah’s Blog August 4 and Beyond Pt 1

August 4th and Beyond Part I

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

Highlights from the weeks of 7/23-8/5  consisted of our our Process Tour presentations of our mini exhibits that we put together, a surprise thank you brunch from the staff at Saga, and our research and construction of our biggest and final exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens.

Presenting our exhibit to the public has been amazing. It is quite the accomplishment for Abigail and I to both present on the research we have done on our assigned topics. Also seeing the interest that visitors have on what we were talking about and engaging with us and discussing about it with us felt great. I loved talking about an important piece of American history, the twenty dollar gold piece, that Saint-Gaudens commissioned to represent America.


Our Surprise Brunch was fantastic. ACE and SCA Interns had no idea that we were in for a surprise. Members of the SAGA staff gave out praise and thanks for our hard work and help during this season. Afterwards we were all able to enjoy the delicious baked goods and fruit that was laid out on the table to be enjoyed and consumed.


Lastly, for our final and upcoming exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens went spent an entire day in the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. While there we had access and read through piles of written correspondences from the Saint-Gaudens family. We also got to hold and read through some of Homer’s personal belongings, letters, checkbooks, textbooks, and letters to and from his family. This helped us get an insider’s view to who he was as a person and to read about his life and accomplishments.




Things are starting to calm down around the Olmsted Center, but they’re heating up for me. Our numbers have dwindled over the last few weeks as Daisy, Jill, and Catrina have all left Boston and returned to school. I already miss them tons, but I’m thrilled to be sticking around the Olmsted Center for a bit longer. So, what exactly will I be doing for the next few months, aside from reveling in all of the apple-picking, leaf-changing, and general fall-related fun New England has to offer?

The main reason I was brought on as an intern is to assist with the completion of the next round of Cultural Resource Stewardship Assessments (CRSA) for the Northeast Region. The initiative is taking place across the NPS with the eventual goal of completing CRSAs for every park in the system.

The CRSA seeks find out how we’re doing as stewards of the cultural resources that are in our care. Cultural resources are different from the natural resources that are more commonly associated with the National Parks Service (Don’t worry, natural resources have their own similar, but separate, assessment program). Cultural resources include historic structures, cultural landscapes, archeological resources, cultural anthropology, history, and museum collections — All of my favorite things!

In a nutshell, the CRSA seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What do we know about the cultural resources that we care for at each park?
  • How are we applying that knowledge to their management?
  • What is the condition of these resources?
  • What do we need to do to maintain or improve our knowledge or the condition of these resources?


As 2017 CRSA coordinator, I’ve gotta keep a lot of people in line…Hopefully they don’t see me like this.

The most interesting part for me will be getting to work with so many parks across the region, all of them fascinating in their own way. For this round of the CRSA, we’re starting off with Minute Man National Historical Park (the place where the first battle of the Revolutionary War took place) and Independence National Historical Park (where so many things happened that that I can’t even begin to list them. Just think Independence Hall, Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Liberty Bell, and you’ll be well on your way). We’ll be adding other parks to that list in the coming weeks, but, as a former history major, I am elated to have the chance to work so closely with these two parks. To quote my first blog post, pinch me!

I’m most excited about getting to work with the teams of specialists who will represent the various cultural resource disciplines, both from the individual parks and from the regional offices. By talking and collaborating with these teams, we’ll be able to answer the questions I listed above and have a much better understanding of where we are now and what we need to do to make things better in the near future. Our interactions will also give me a great opportunity to gain a thorough and overarching understanding of the depth and range of work the NPS does.

I won’t have many interesting photos to share with you until we start visiting the parks that we’re assessing to meet with their teams (Right now, my days are filled with a lot of Word documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, emails, and phone calls). For now, I’ll leave you with a few photos from Minute Man, each photo representing a different type of cultural resource that will be part of the CRSA…

Hartwell Site Visit 2.22.12_DSC_3939

The Hartwell Tavern represents the “historic structures” at Minute Man

CLI Hartwell Tavern_Cover_edited_Hartwell Tavern 2003

The view of one of the “cultural landscapes” at Minute Man

Fiske Hill CLI Report Images_21_DSC_7559

A historic house foundation, representing “archeological resources.”


The “History” of Minute Man is represented by a 1775 etching of the fighting at the Old North Bridge (Courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Lexington Minute Men_1899432_orig

“Cultural anthropology” is represented by the involvement of the local community, such as the Lexington Minute Men.

2016_Parker's Revenge Archeological Project_REPORT

Fired musket balls from the park’s “museum’s collections.”

Investigating recent archaeological discovery

Investigating recent archaeological discovery

By Eric C. Olson

I had the pleasant opportunity to go on a hike in around some ledges in the park. The opportunity presented itself because of the keen eye of Dr. Metin Eren at Kent State University, who just a couple of weeks ago noticed some artifacts near what he believed might be a rock shelter. The Lake Erie watershed is full of deeply dissected river valleys that have exposes miles of bedrock, usually sandstones and shales. These areas, known as ledges, are unique because there is a specific layer of sandstone with quartz concretions, or inclusions, known as Sharon Conglomerate. I was able to re-locate the site Dr. Eren discovered, and experience the ledges for the first time in this part of the park.

It just so happened that this was the date of the solar eclipse. Before I ventured deep into the woods, a nice couple loaned me their glasses to see the eclipse. The sun was roughly 80% blocked by the moon while I was hiking, and it provided for a unique experience. It was one of the quietest times I had ever been in the park. Perhaps this was in part because of the eclipse’s effect on the wildlife, or perhaps the ledges absorbed some of the white noise typical of Cuyahoga Valley. It could be that most normal visitors were elsewhere that had better views of the eclipse. In any case, I was able to have the entire trail to myself, which is a rarity in Cuyahoga Valley. I also snapped a few photos of myself just to see what it looked like in the dimmed light of the eclipse.

This particular part of the park is not well understood prehistorically, as very few sites have been reported. However, prehistoric American Indian populations likely utilized these ledges for short camp sites, or possibly even sacred rituals, based on rock shelters investigated and reported in the area.


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