Sunday, July 8, 2012

HAFE Internship Week #7

Painting of Lower Town right before it became a National Monument

Jelly Stone's Mascot Yoogie Bear

This week’s cross training was full of exciting and new adventures.  The first two days we were working for Michelle Hammer who works for the Museum department. Day 1 consisted of Michelle showing us different areas of the park and how a normal day is conducted in the life of a museum curator.  We first went to an area that might become an historical landmark.  Although it is not your everyday historical site, Jelly Stone Park might be deemed significant in a cultural aspect. The location used to be booming with campers visiting the area to enjoy taking a tour in the caverns.  It is now a run-down abandoned placed where the caverns are fenced off and an un-operational swimming pool is filled with gravel for safety precautions.  Michelle has hope that NPS will deem this place of historical importance so she can start restoration projects.

After we visited Jelly Stone Park, we checked on the condition of the cannons located on a battlefield.  We checked for any indications of prevalent rusting and if there was any present graffiti.  We recorded this information and took pictures of the cannons for record keeping.  It was interesting to see that there was only one authentic cannon from the civil war era in that specific location.  As you can see in the picture it is the black one and the green ones are replicas.

 Early the next morning, we switched an exhibit in the information center from the War of 1812 to a John Hancock Hall exhibit.  If you do not know already, John Hall was skilled craftsman who created the first gun with interchangeable parts here in Harpers Ferry at the armory. Later on in the afternoon, we had the opportunity to clean jewelry and stopwatches that dated back to the 1800’s at Burton’s Jewelry Store.  There was even some 18k Tiffany & CO jewelry that we really enjoyed cleaning.  It was tedious cleaning these artifacts but rewarding to know that it is significant to the preservation of these valuable pieces.  The process included cleaning the items and then taking pictures to keep for inventory. 

Later on in the afternoon, we went to a designated area that stored historic artifacts and cleaned some swords and guns (very exciting).  We saw some antique paintings that we enjoyed very much so.  Working for the museum division was a blast and we hope to have the opportunity to work with this division again during our second internship.  We felt privileged to have the chance to work with such valuable pieces of our American heritage.

Wednesday we worked for the Archaeology Division.  We were given the opportunity to help with a brand new project.  This project was important because no one has yet to survey the water retention wall by the armory.  This wall was also the place where the original railroad beams were located.  We measured out the length and width of the top layer of the rocks and work out some calculations while Justin drew a map of the wall.  In the afternoon, Jackie cataloged some interesting artifacts with Lori that was excavated from surrounding areas while I (Renee) continued to help Justin with his project.  Overall it was a great experience.       


The last two days of the week we were with Living History.  The first day, Melinda Day showed us how women used to dress in the 1800’s and prepared us for our program we will  conduct the following day.  The next day we were ready to display our exhibit.  We were placed in the dry goods store and the theme was “Wonders of the Modern World”; the new age technologies that were invented for that period in time.  Our specialty was the hoop skirt. We explained to park visitors that the hoop skirts liberated women because instead of putting on layer after layer of petticoats, with the use of a hoop skirt, there was only a need for one layer of petticoat and women still achieved that hour shaped glass look.  So the use of a hoop skirt was convenient and cooler in warmer weather.  We also showed park visitors how to use an apple peeler.  Showing an original sewing machine created by Wilcox & Gibbs Sewing Machine Company in 1857 was a big hit.  It felt like we were really living in the 1800’s and it was neat to be able to dress and feel like we were back in time.  We also had the chance to make ice cream.  Yes, I said ice cream!  It takes a lot of patience and hard work but the end result is definitely rewarding.  A fun fact our local Philadelphia residence would enjoy is that Nancy Johnson from Philadelphia invented the hand cranked planetary ice cream maker and her design led to sixty-nine other inventor’s machines.  The key ingredients to making ice cream were ice and salt and it is the same salt we use to melt ice from our sidewalks. 

This week was enjoyable and a great learning experience.  It made us really appreciate the evolution of our American civilization.

Written by: Renee Benson and Jackie Innella

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Renee'. Jennifer told me about the proranger blog site. So I thought I'd see what you were doing in the program. Way to go!