By Maeliz Colon
My internship began last week on Wednesday, June 12th. I am very excited and thrilled to share my experiences and things that I am currently working on. I was fortunate enough to do a lot of my initial training alongside the seasonal park rangers coming in; this allowed me to see what goes into being a park ranger here at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. (I am wearing the orange shirt)
My training began with a trip down to Hartford, Connecticut where a National Park has been authorized but not quite established. This in itself was so fascinating because it isn’t often that you get to see what type of effort goes into establishing a park; they don’t just grow overnight.
On this trip we were also able to see the current procedure for doing tours and what they do to be part of the community down in Hartford. The reason for this trip was based on the fact that some of the seasonal park rangers will be stationed down in Coltsville (which is the name of the authorized park down in Hartford) so it would be best for them to familiarize themselves with the area, also, this area is co-managed by the Springfield Armory National Historic Site so it is still relevant to me. Unfortunately I was not able to take photos of this site and the wonderful experience I had.
The following day was filled with learning about the Armory Historically and getting a tour of the grounds. This was very helpful to connect it with the information we had previously received on Coltsville; both places dedicated to manufacturing firearms under different circumstances.
During our tour of SPAR (the Springfield Armory) we were able to go into the commandant’s house. This house is being remodeled, so we did not have complete access but we were able to almost “travel back in time” with the flow of the house, room sizes, and some furniture that still remained in the home. This day ended with a tour of the museum and a look into the archives -the archives is not readily available to the public so this tour was a treat!
I was also part of an outreaching that is done regularly by SPAR, this took place at Sturbridge, MA at an Antiques FireArms show; I was taken around by my park supervisor to and looked at all the collectibles and antiques people had brought from all over and he pointed out some of the firearms made SPAR among all the other firearms.
Aside from establishing a general foundation the first week, I also gained insight on what my overall project for the summer would include. However, my current tasks are to read some of the literature that was given to me by the curator at SPAR. The books range from Shaping Invention, Arms Making in the Connecticut Valley, The American System of Manufacturing and a few others.
So far I am the material so that I put everything I have learned into context, also looking at a few primary sources along with the readings to really draw the lines between engineering and the resources.