By Allison Hillman
Black Powder Musket Training
The most exciting thing to take place these last few weeks was the black powder musket training we had. As part of my job here at Minute Man, I get to dress in traditional colonial garb and give musket firing demonstrations at Hartwell Tavern. So far, this is one of my favorite things I’ve done. However, getting dressed is incredibly complicated. There are more than thirteen costume pieces and a lot of steps to put on traditional colonial women’s clothing. It takes at least ten minutes every time to get dressed. A big part of this is because of the stay (corset). Lacing that up takes a majority of my time. We had two days of musket training. We learned all the steps in preparing to fire, of which there are fifteen. I had a fellow ranger take these pictures of me in my colonials. Clearly, I felt too cool to smile. Besides musket firing, one of the things we do at the tavern is wander about the home and tell visitors the history of the Hartwell family and their role in the war. We do not play specific characters which is nice, so we can talk to visitors freely and openly about a plethora of subjects.
Minute Man Visitors Center
When I’m not doing the colonial reenactments, I spend a majority of my time at the Minute Man Visitor’s Center. We get between 400-1000 visitors a day depending on the day of the week, Friday through Sunday being the most busy. As the ranger on duty there, I have the wonderful honor of helping the Junior Rangers. They are primarily aged four through twelve and the activity books differ in difficulty based on age. This little girl, aged four, needed some help counting in order to finish the connect-the-dots activity in her Junior Ranger packet. Once the packet is complete, we get to swear them in and give them their badge. Most kids take this very seriously and are over the moon when they earn their badge. It is as cute as it sounds. I usually get to swear in a few Junior Rangers a day, and it is by far one of my favorite things about working at Minute Man.
The North Bridge
I will typically spend one day a week at North Bridge and the North Bridge Visitor’s Center. I generally give people directions, tell them about the park, and take a plethora of family photos. Everyone is very kind and I’ve met people from all corners of the world. I’ve heard Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, German, Swedish, and more spoken at the park since I’ve started. I have even had the chance to converse with a Deaf couple in ASL. It was nice to make that connection and they said they appreciated my help. I love being surrounded by so much diversity, I learn something new every day.