Speciality Blog

Viewing posts from the Speciality Blog category

NPS Academy, 2019

Every year a new group of individuals from all over the United States is selected to take part in the NPS Academy.  With varying backgrounds, identities, and experiences these folks initially converge in Grand Teton National Park, a unique place fitting for the unique mission these participants are about to delve into.  In early spring, ACE the NPS and Teton Science Schools co-host an orientation with the purpose of participants getting an immersive understanding of the Agency and community they will work alongside the following summer in a National Park.  The objective of this innovative summer internship experience, paired with spring orientation, is to introduce and connect diverse students, ages 18 to 25 to career opportunities with the NPS.

In 2019, NPS Academy at Grand Teton partnered with American Conservation Experience, Emerging Professional Intern Corps (EPIC).  At ACE EPIC, we support college students and young adults transitioning in their career with professional development opportunities in natural and cultural resource management alongside federal and NGO agencies.  Partnering with the NPS Academy has been an exciting opportunity!  Throughout the season, ACE supported fifteen participants in various internships across the nation.  Pictured below are just a few of the internship opportunities and experiences had through NPS Academy.

Figure 1: Snowshoeing at Orientation in March, 2019.

Figure 2: You’ll need sunglasses for winter in a place like Jackson, Wyoming. High elevation, remoteness, and deep snow can create conditions requiring significant preparation for the outdoor extremes.

Figure 3: Water sampling and fisheries monitoring are some of the many exciting opportunities and wide-ranging internships of NPS Academy.

Figure 4: Trail work is really important for erosion control and hiker safety in a high-use recreation area like Grand Teton National Park.

Figure 5: Swearing in junior rangers!

Figure 6: Data entry is an important component to tracking your efforts and outcomes of your internship.

Figure 7: It is hard to complain about the view here!

Figure 8: Working with local youth and student groups is always a blast.

Figure 9: Trail work can include cutting stone! Did you ever imagine that?

Figure 10: NPS Academy 2019.



















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.


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

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!





Researching the First Women’s Rights Convention

By Victoria Elliott

I’m grateful to have begun my CDRIP internship!

Figure 1: The Declaration Water Wall (pre-watering)

I spent my first week at Women’s Rights National Historical Park establishing the why, when, where, and who of the First Women’s Rights Convention. I began by researching the history of Seneca Falls following the American Revolution. I learned about the effect that the Seneca River, the implementation of the canal, and the railroad had on the prosperity and development of the town. If the Erie Canal hadn’t been built, Seneca Falls had the potential to become a city as large as Buffalo or Syracuse!

I also investigated the importance of religion and religious revivals in New York. The region underwent waves of religious change, inventions, and was filled with so much religious “fire” in the Second Great Awakening that central and western New York came to be known as the Burned-over district. Greater importance was placed on the individual’s responsibility to promote public welfare. At the same time, the industrial revolution and the middle class were both developing.

Figure 2: Notice of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention published in the Seneca County Courier on July 11, 1848

These conditions (along with many, many others) caused the First Women’s Rights Convention on July 19th and 20th, 1848 to occur when and where it did.

Since the close of my first week I’ve been researching the importance of the abolitionist movement and its relationship to the women’s rights movement, Seneca County’s specific links to the Underground Railroad, and African American abolition and women’s rights activists.

In the coming weeks I look forward to continuing my investigation of the early women’s rights movement in both its achievements and its failings.


Recent Events at Cape Hatteras

By Clara Chang

These past couple weeks I have been organizing the files on the Cape Hatteras Weather Bureau and aided my supervisor, Jami Lanier, with cataloging and labeling the boxes and files for storage in the archives.

I have also been aiding Jami with research requests and scanning/digitizing photos for researcher, Wayne Gray. Also regarding photos, I have been converting slides from both the Verde Watson photo collection and the Lost Colony photo collection, using a new slide converter. This way, these photos from past years of the Lost Colony play at Fort Raleigh and the 1950s-60s photos by past Park Naturalist, Verde Watson, can be digitized and shared more easily throughout NPS.


Figure 1: Scanning, Digitizing, Cataloguing and More!

Jami and I have also dedicated many hours to the 20th Anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Move event happening on Monday, July 1st. We spent a day this week setting up the artifacts and exhibits for display at the event, and attending meetings discussing many other logistics for the event.

Jami and I have also started a new photo project called “Then and Now” where we place an older photo against the modern-day background in an attempt to display the changes that have been made to the land and structures over time. We did editions for Bodie Island and Fort Raleigh these past couple weeks.


Figure 2: Many hours were dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move


Tales from the Mississippi River

Tales from the Mississippi River

By: Konner Magnuson and Andy Lisak

Trempealeau NWR

After a two-day journey from Fort Collins, Colorado we arrived at Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin, this 6,446-acre refuge was established in the 1930s by FDR to serve as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. This refuge also features many unique habitats such as rolling sand prairies, bottomland forests, and wetlands.

The main draw to this refuge is the migration of waterfowl such as trumpeter and tundra swans. Several visitors pointed out that during the peak swan migration there can be thousands of swans hanging out on the river before moving on to their wintering grounds. Even though it wasn’t “swam season,” there were plenty of locals who visited the refuge every day to walk their dogs or take a peaceful bike ride through the many habitats this refuge had to offer. We often think of refuges as a place for wildlife to escape to, but the locals’ love of this refuge shows that people need their public lands as well.

Sampling at this refuge was a challenge for several reasons. Prior to our arrival, the entrance road to the refuge was closed for an extended period due to flooding from the Mississippi River. The weather was uncooperative for us as well, as we were fighting against low temperatures and rain during most of our sampling shifts. However, we were still happy to have the chance to be outside and see the beautiful scenery.

Kieps Dike at Trempealeau NWR. May 2019. Photo by Andy Lisak.

Konner (left) and Andy (right) arrive at Trempealeau NWR. May 2019.

Upper Mississippi River NWR – Savanna District

After spending only five days at Trempealeau, we made the trek to the Savannah district of the Upper Mississippi River NWR in northwestern Illinois. The Savannah district is the southernmost district of the refuge, but we quickly realized that there is more to this district than just the river. This district houses the old Savanna Army Depot, which was used as a test firing site for artillery in the early 1900s, and was a storage and recycling site for ammunition until 2000. This portion of the refuge is also home to the largest remnant sand prairie in the state of Illinois and home to over 40 endangered and threatened plant and animal species.

Before coming to this refuge, we always thought of wildlife refuges as a place solely for wildlife, but we quickly realized that there are many recreational opportunities for hunters and anglers as well. Many of the anglers we encountered on the river travel from all over to use one of the lakes on the refuge and on several occasions they stated that this refuge is one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the United States. This makes it a hot spot for both professional and amateur fishing tournaments.

Much like Trempealeau NWR and everywhere else on the upper Mississippi River, this refuge was dealing with flooding, which made sampling tricky for us. When we arrived the flooding had subsided somewhat and did not hinder our ability to snag visitors, but by the end of our sampling period the Mississippi River had flooded up into one of our most popular sampling locations, making one of the main areas anglers use inaccessible. This refuge also has many access points which meant we needed to be more proactive when trying to sample and we found ourselves splitting up between different locations in hopes of hitting our numbers. If we were surveying the gnat population of this refuge, we would have been done sampling the minute we got there!

Anglers weighing their catch at the Savanna district. May 2019. Photo by Konner Magnuson.

Upper Mississippi River NWR – McGregor District

Just a short drive upriver from Savanna, we entered the Driftless Area, which is not a knockoff of the Twilight Zone, but rather a whole region that was void of glaciers during the last glacial period. This resulted in rolling bluffs on either side of the gently meandering Mississippi. After a short but steep drive into the bluffs, we set up camp at Wyalusing State Park. We found an incredible scenic overlook at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, and stayed to watch the sunset over the bluffs on the far side of the river. On the refuge, our high-water problems appeared to have followed us up from Savanna as only a handful of boat ramps were still open, and most were completely flooded out. In a testament to the dedication of some visitors (a.k.a. obsessed anglers) a few flooded ramps still had trailers parked nearby where courageous boaters had braved the shallows to launch… sometimes in what was essentially the middle of a road! Farther up the river, however, things got a little better. In Lansing, Iowa, a newly refurbished boat launch attracted all the boaters who couldn’t launch elsewhere.

Sunset over the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. June 2019. Photo by Andy Lisak.

While the long drives took their toll during the slower weekdays, we sought our own refuge back at camp by relaxing for hours in our hammocks or exploring the forested trails around the bluffs. On the weekends, however, beautiful weather and a series of fishing tournaments filled boat launch parking lots and gave us the wonderful opportunity to talk to friendly anglers from across the region as they pulled in and waited to weigh their catches. After packing up camp at the end of our two weeks, we left for La Crosse, optimistic for sunny weather and happy boaters to survey.

Konner crosses a log bridge while hiking at Wyalusing State Park. June 2019. Photo by Andy Lisak.

Upper Mississippi River NWR – La Crosse District

Just a short drive up river, we arrived in La Crosse ready for a few days off from surveying while we took the Motorboat Operation Certification Course (MOCC). During our first three days in La Crosse, we learned how to tie knots, motorboat operations, boating maintenance, navigation, and regulations, how to tie knots again, and then we were finally able to get out on the water and get some experience behind the wheel (or tiller). After learning the ins and outs of boat driving and getting a feel for the handling of several different kinds of boats, we both passed the final exam with flying colors. We are proud to say that we’ve done what Spongebob never could and graduated from boating school! After completing MOCC, however, the weather once again turned against us and rainy days kept visitors off of the boat ramps.

So far we have been enjoying our visitor survey adventure, and can’t wait to share more with you as we travel southeast.

Racing to the Deadline

By Madisyn Rostro

Imagine having a whole picture gallery to fill objects within one week. That includes deciding what objects fit best in the space, are observable, creating labels for the objects, moving them from one building to the other, and hanging everything up and making sure it looks good in its spot. It’s a lot of pressure to get it done in one week, but the reward of getting people to see the exhibit is worth all of the stress. Especially going to the exhibit opening and seeing what people think about what we have done with the space. I have enjoyed hearing their comments about how beautiful the dress is and how well the exhibit has come together. I am beyond proud of how it turned out and I could not have done it without the help of the other curatorial staff.

These past two weeks have flown by a lot faster than I initially thought they would. The curatorial team has been busy working on several different projects and making sure they are done to the best of our abilities. Something new that I have learned is how to set up an exhibit and how to showcase it so that visitors will be interested in what they’re seeing. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the interpretation staff can also incorporate the information and to make connections for the visitors that our park gets throughout the season.

The curatorial team kept themselves busy getting an exhibit ready to be on view. We had a deadline of July 20th that was all in the back of our minds, but as Monday hit, we realized how fast we needed to work on this project. It first started with having the curator; Henry Duffy get the objects that he wanted to use for his exhibition out on a table. That way we can arrange them in a way that the viewer will find interesting and that they will be able to make connections. This step I feel like is the hardest due to the amount of time that we spend looking at different options on how to put everything together. Once we are all satisfied with an idea then we begin to form the label which explains the object itself. Creating the label in such a short time frame can be a bit of a task. Mainly because we must be careful not to smudge the ink on the paper and to cut the mat board with a beveled edge. We had several trial and errors trying to get the bevel just right and to make sure that there were no crinkles in the paper or making sure the mat board corners weren’t dented. The next step is hanging everything up in the gallery space and making sure that it looks good with the other objects. Sometimes when you hang things up on the wall you want to make sure that everything is proportioned.

After we completed all those steps, we did a few little tasks like cleaning the plexiglass for the cases, putting “Please Do Not Touch” signs on the objects stands for the chairs and the dress. We also cleaned the floors to ensure a clearer viewing. One of the last finishes was putting a bouquet in the entryway to add a little something extra for the visitors that come in. After completing this exhibit, I hope that the viewer will gain a deeper inside on who Augusta Saint-Gaudens was. I hope that they understand and appreciate how independent she became as her marriage wasn’t always the best. And that she enjoyed every bit of her life as she possibly could whether that be going out of the country and exploring or painting about her experiences that she was seeing while being away from Cornish.



A Workshop Field Trip

By Maeliz Colon

I had a wonderful opportunity to accompany the workshop for the National Endowment for the Humanities. There were teachers from all over the country participating in this week long workshop; most of them were history and social studies teachers. The overall objective for them was to work on a source set inquiry based lesson plan. I joined them on Monday, July 8th. I was ultimately there with them to represent the armory, as well as, bring my own knowledge and experience to the hypothetical table. The week was full of field trips, lectures, and lots of discussions. I have so many photos of all the interesting things I got to see and can go on and on about all the notes I took, but honestly it was so rewarding to spend time with those teachers and help them find primary and secondary sources from the collection at SPAR. The focus of the workshop was ultimately on New England history (mostly Massachusetts) and the development of the industry, I was able to learn a lot about Springfield and the neighboring areas.

We actually finished the week with a visit to the Springfield Art Museum and the neighboring museums. We were able to see the evolution of the paintings and the stories behind them. Interestingly enough, this was helpful for the teachers as well because pictures are considered primary sources as well and it aids with the understanding of interpretation. We also received a presentation/ lecture from Cassie Brown author of Rosie’s Mom: Forgotten Women Workers of the First World War. Which provided insight to a time period for women that isn’t discussed that too often.

On Wednesday July 10th we went over to where the SPAR watershops used to be and then took a trip to Old Sturbridge Village. We received a lecture from a University of Connecticut professor on currency and what type of social behaviors were associated to currency in the 1830s. Also taking a tour of the grounds was engaging and helps put the technology of the time in perspective; that these people were people and lived in circumstances that seem so alien in the modern day. The village contained tools and some people along the facilities were using the tools as they would in the 1830s.

I also chose to focus on a few days of my trip as opposed to the entire week, because I would be repeating the process with a new group of teachers. Nonetheless, the entire workshop was refreshing and I was able to get a different perspective from teachers and just lesson planning all together. I know that teaching and sharing information is an important part of raising awareness of resources and simply effectively conveying a historical story; being a part of this type of workshop is giving me a lot of exposure to a variety of themes and topics.

The photos I took are in no particular order:

Figure 1: A Visit to the Springfield Art Museum

Figure 2: The Early 20th Century American Gallery

Figure 3: A Vast Audience Experience a Perspective Rarely Seen

Figure 4: The Old Sturbridge Village

Figure 5: Tools of the 1830s

Figure 6: Closing out the Workshop Week with Teachers




Lincoln Home Blog

By Christian Rice

I’ve continued over the past two weeks to work with the artifacts in storage, and I’ve managed to complete the cataloging of another home. The Sprigg House was purchased by a widow, Mrs. Julia Sprigg, in 1853. Mrs. Sprigg became close friends with Mary Lincoln over the years, and Sprigg’s daughter once cared for the Lincoln’s sons.

Currently, I am working on artifacts from the Dean House. This house came to be named after its occupants Mrs. Harriet Dean and her husband Frederick, who purchased the home in 1849. Today, visitors to the site can tour through the Dean house as well as the garden established behind the home.

Figure 1: The Harriet Dean House

Another project I’ve been working on over the past few weeks has been to put together a new display for the Arnold House. In the house, there is a standing display that is themed “Left Behind,” in which items found during the archaeological digs and reconstructions are shown. Previously, the display was filled with items connected to the Morse House. Our goal was to replace the artifacts with some from the Robinson House.

Figure 2: The Heirloom Garden Located behind the Dean House








My main task within this project was to do background research for each of the artifacts that we used in the display in order to write descriptions for the information cards. The research involved a lot of searching for and deciphering of Maker’s Marks, materials used, and other identifying traits. This was my first time doing anything curator-like, and it was a process that I found I rather enjoyed.

This past week, I also completed part of my volunteer service project. I spent time at a local elementary school, where they host a day camp throughout the summer for kids in the community. Specifically, I helped with the Backpack Feeding program. The goal of this program is to send each child home on the weekends with a bag of various food items to ensure they have access to nutritious meals. It was a really great experience, and I enjoyed meeting new people and getting involved more in the community here in Springfield.

Figure 3: The new “Left Behind” display
featuring items from around the
Robinson House.

No announcement available or all announcement expired.