By Maeliz Colon
Last week I learned about the history of the parks, especially Springfield Armory National Historic Site, and how they are being managed by the park staff. Which was very useful in setting up a foundation for myself. After getting the introduction out of the way I have been able to get more specific information about the museum collection and ultimately how the culture has evolved over the years at the Springfield Armory (SPAR). My ultimate project for the summer is to take the information at SPAR, which includes, but is not limited to, the museum collection, primary sources (ordinance reports and records), and secondary sources (studies done by historians on SPAR), and combine it with my own engineering background to be able to extract the S.T.E.M. topics and explain them.
To my own understanding I believe there has definitely been a misconception that history and engineering are exclusive from one another. However, I have been able to take basic S.T.E.M. fundamentals and make them relevant to the material here at the armory. The main goal is to have more resources for the public to be able to see the broader Springfield Armory story. While being here I have been able to understand how important interpretative themes are here at the armory, they help tell the story. Not only is what I am focusing on for the public but also for my fellow park rangers; who have been benefitting from the S.T.E.M. explanations I have been working on and appreciate it.
My project topics are mostly centered around the Life Saving Gun i.e. the Lyle Gun. This life saving apparatus encompasses many of the S.T.E.M. topics that I have been exploring. This wasn’t done out of pure convenience, but the curator here at the SPAR explained that it would be beneficial if I can apply most of all topics to one specific instance and then make broader more general statements that can be applied to the other pieces of the collection. The projectiles of the Lyle Gun were designed to help in instances of a ship wreck; where it would be too dangerous to get another boat out into the water, this gun would shoot out a projectile attached to a line to help people get across to safety. However, there were many challenges faced by David A. Lyle who the gun is named after, and he kept very descriptive data of his tests and research, which I am reading and using to better explain the dynamics of this gun.