By Kevin Roberts
It’s been a couple of weeks since the first blog post, and I can say with complete confidence that I still have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve been working at the Lincoln Home site for over a month now, but honestly it feels like I just got here. I can honestly say that I look forward to coming to work every day, and a large part of that is because everyone who works here is so friendly. From my supervisors to the Interp. and maintenance staffs and everyone in-between.
Over the past two weeks, I have continued to clean and organize artifacts housed in storage. Artifacts from the restoration of 18 buildings are housed in storage, and I have successfully worked through two (slow and steady wins the race, right?).
The process of working through a single building’s artifacts is more tedious than I thought it would be. It involves digging through the entire storage building to find every artifact associated with the house I am focusing on. Then, I must clean every artifact, write down detailed descriptions and give each artifact a catalog number. Finally, after finding a dedicated space in the storage building to place the artifacts, I must enter the information I wrote down into the online database. At this point, I’ve found a sort of rhythm when it comes to this process, so I’ve come to rather enjoy it.
My supervisor, Susan, and I have also started a side project of putting together a display dedicated to the Robinson House. The Robinson House, which belonged to a Springfield businessman and civic leader named Henson Robinson, was built around 1859-60.
My first task for this project was to compile a list of the artifacts we could possibly use. The space we have available for the display is not large, so we are limited to some of the smaller artifacts. These include wallpaper samples, a lighting fixture, and some other decorative pieces. Our next step will be to decide on a theme for the display and create a sort of storyline with the artifacts.
When I’m working in the Carriage House (i.e. the storage building), I can be alone for hours on end. Thankfully, I have Antenna Abe to keep me company. He was created by a previous intern. He’s not the most talkative, but he doesn’t complain about the music or podcasts I listen to, so it could be worse.
I also managed to take the time to drive down to O’Fallon, Illinois where my grad school advisor, Dr. Susan Alt, was having her summer field school. The site she was excavating was in the middle of a corn field (pretty common in the Midwest).
They were about three weeks into the dig by the time I visited and had uncovered several house and pit features. Early interpretations of the site seem to lean towards the area having been home to a family over several generations. Dr. Alt hopes that the site will give insight into how Mississippian family life changed throughout the rise and fall of the Mississippian culture period.