Summer Days at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Written by: Juliann Ramos
Now arriving at my mid-way point for my internship at the Charlestown Navy Yard, I felt it would be appropriate to reflect on all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things I have done here.
When I first arrived, I had no idea what my experience would be serving as David’s curatorial assistant, however, through his kindness and patience, I found myself becoming comfortable in the environment set by Bldg. 107 and appreciating every moment that I have here. Predominantly, I have been accomplishing a lot of reading- historical documents, BNHP documents, logs, notes, etc. Not only have these been incredibly informative, but they have granted me the opportunity to become more familiar with not only the park’s collections but the history of the Navy Yard and Charlestown and Boston in general.
During my first week at the Charlestown Navy Yard, I was offered the chance to participate in Charlestown’s annual Bunker Hill Day Parade on Sunday, June 12th! Not only was this the perfect opportunity to meet fellow Parks members, but it allowed me to finally explore Charlestown. By walking the long trek up both Bunker and Breed’s Hill to the Bunker Hill Monument, not only did I work up a sweat, but I got to see how popular this event was to the people of Charlestown- they lined the streets and decorated like it was the Fourth of the July, and despite my never hearing of it, Charlestown dedicates an entire week to the Battle of Bunker Hill!
Getting into the nitty gritty of it, one of my first tasks at Charlestown Navy Yard was to complete tasks set within both the Housekeeping and Integrated Pest Management Plans for the Park. This involved not only a lot of cleaning, but I also had to check and switch out the pest traps strategically placed around collection areas. Once I changed out the traps, I would have to open them up and identify and record the insects trapped within them. While this was very informative in helping me identify the various types of pests common to many museums, it was truly a test of my will and strength to overcome my fear of bugs to closely observe them. Not only that, but I did get jump-scared by a spider that managed to avoid the sticky part of the trap- an energizing experience! I wish whoever must complete it next the best of luck.
Lastly, I would like to talk about my other main project so far at the Navy Yard- the processing and filing of the Preservation Specialist’s files. The largest part of any collection is typically archival in nature, and for the Charlestown Navy Yard- it is no different. Due to the limited sizing of the curatorial staff, the bulk of these files have been left unattended in boxes within collection storage, and it was my task to organize and file these papers. This project has taught me a lot about the archival nature of curatorial positions-the nature of the job cannot be constrained into one neat little box, instead, it is multifaceted and requires knowledge from various disciplines.
I hope to keep you informed about what I get up to next for the remaining time I am here!
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