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?
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…