Navy Yard Summer


Written By: Lucy Oster


I have been at Boston National Historical Park, and specifically in the Charlestown Navy Yard, for almost a month and a half now, but it doesn’t feel that way. A lot of what I’ve been doing here has been refiling the Preservation Specialist’s boxes of files, and many of these boxes contain emails and faxes from the early 2000s. When I get out of work, I’m not quite sure what year it is, much less the month. Only the oppressive city heat can remind me that it’s actually midsummer.



An idea of what refiling some vastly disorganized administrative papers can look like!


I haven’t only been refiling papers. I’ve also been assisting with deaccessioning, which is a nice change from the mental challenge of refiling towards the physical challenge of trying to navigate around heavy shipyard machinery.


Deaccessioning in the dust


I’ve also been working, in a continuous and chipping-away manner, on the eternal summer task that every cultural resources-associated member knows all too well: the annual inventory. I’ve been assisting the Museum Tech with the inventory, but she’s as new as to the park I am, so really I feel as though we assist each other. I’ve done the inventory before, but she has (supposed) access to the technology, and together that’s teamwork! Due to the heat we’d been avoiding some of the park’s exterior sites for inventory, but the other day we bit the bullet and started to go through the controlled property inventory on one of BOST’s Charlestown premier attractions: the Cassin Young. It’s ironic for me to be working at a shipyard and not know much about boats, but one doesn’t need to know much about the Cassin Young to get it: simply seeing the thing is enough. Maybe my images from the inside give a bit of a clue.


Cassin Young interiors


Ultimately, it’s a pretty intense boat that left me grateful for my refiling tasks. I’m glad the constant maintenance of collections is such a varied task that allows me to go down such varying holes of interest. We’ll see what the second half of my summer brings — maybe one day the inventory will be completed.

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