Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Large Amounts of Goat Bones

Last week I finished up my second week with the Cultural Resource Management division, as well as my 40-hour conservation project. For my project I assisted the CRM staff in taking inventory of the park's many resources.

The first week was largely spent getting familiarized with the different branches of the division. I learned about the parks library and photo collection, one of the few in the NPS, curated by one of only a few head librarians working in the agency. I got to visit the park's archaeology lab and see where relics are cleaned, sorted, reconstructed, labeled, and stored. The museum branch allowed me to tag along as they presented a meticulously reconstructed navigation tool to the private investor that helped fund it. The amount of detail and time taken to restore this object was incredible and plain to see and it was very cool to get to see the final product, which will hopefully be displayed in the near future.

The actual inventory-taking brought me all over the park and allowed me to interact with dozens of different types of artifacts that the park possessed. I traveled around with curator as we counted and cataloged items in the Bishop White House, Ben Franklin's Print Shop, the Declaration House, Old City Tavern, and more. I also got to clean and sort artifacts in the archaeology lab, handle the park's extensive records collection, and help fellow intern Joanna in her cataloging of the items in second bank. In addition, I got to see the park's collection storage areas, containing everything from vases to ship masts to busts of Julius Caesar. The collection also contains, as I ascertained firsthand, hundreds and hundreds of goat bones, along with clam shells and other animal bones, which are kept (in case you are wondering) in order to facilitate future research into the eating habits and food locations of people in the 18th and 19th centuries. I ran into small facts, and strange items, like these all over in my time with CRM. It was impressive to see the sheer amount of items the park possessed and know that I still only saw a fraction, everyone in the division was very knowledgeable and able to answer any of my questions and helped to make my time very enlightening and fun.

Last week at Independence!

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