July 13-18: Getting into the Park
By: Marta Olmos
After finishing my quarantine, I was able to start working on the front lines. Our shift patterns have us rotating between the info desk outside, the (closed) visitor center, roving at the North Bridge, and working on project time. We also have telework days to reduce the number of staff in the building. I have really enjoyed starting the hands-on, visitor-facing work, which is something I love to do. Interpretation is at the core of my historical method so getting to talk to the public again was really exciting!
I answer a lot of standard questions every day—where is the bathroom, is the visitor center open, etc.—but I have also been able to practice my interpretive skills with a handful of interpretation questions. I love helping orient visitors down at the Bridge. I am passionate about the power of the historic landscape, but I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to understand. Battlefields often feel barren or sterile, and I feel that they can be more difficult than landmarks and structures because they don’t have as many reference points. I enjoy helping visitors visualize the story and the way it would have looked at time time.
I am fascinated by the grave of the British soldiers (pictured above). The revolutionary narrative is often swept up in an us-vs-them mentality—heroic colonials and oppressive Brits. This monument feels different. It displays a tenderness towards the redcoats, and it recognized their humility and the strange position they were in, firing upon their own countrymen. Many British soldiers in Massachusetts in 1775 had never seen combat, and they were all far from home. I think this perspective is important and it helps us remember that the American Revolution was a kind of civil war, not a war between opposing enemies.
I also spent some time working on an article about a mixed-race immigrant man named Caesar Ferrit who fought at the battle of Lexington and Concord. I love research and writing, so this assignment was really fun and interesting. The article will go up on the Minute Man website as a person asset, and it will be shared on social media to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month, because Ferrit was born in the Caribbean.
It has been a great few weeks here in Concord and I am looking forward to the new interpretive opportunities that will arise as we get further into the season. There is lots to learn here at Minute Man!