Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Third Week Recap

I spent my first day of my third week here continuing my work with the park administration. Recently one of the historic homes, the Bushman house, became available to the public as a rental vacation home. It was our job to help prepare it for guests by stocking the pantries and closest with cleaning supplies and toiletries. We also took an inventory of everything in the home, including all of the furniture and fixtures.
Taking inventory of the newly renovated and furnished Bushman House
On Tuesday I started my second week with the Interpretation Division. I spent the morning manning the information desk at Gettysburg's Visitor Center. At the desk I helped out visitors and answered any questions they had about the park, admissions, fees, tickets, directions, ranger programs, and buses. I also gave out programs and park maps to get visitors interested in seeing the park and attending ranger programs. Working at the information desk throughout the week was a wonderful way for me to learn as much as I could about the park, since I needed to find out the answer to any and every question I was asked by visitors. Later, I shadowed Ranger Atkinson on his Cemetery Ridge Hike and learned even more about the Battle of Gettysburg. I had the chance to shadow several rangers while they were on their programs this week, and I learned a great deal about their work and 
Learning about the life of a Civil War Soldier with Ranger Hillebrand

Throughout the week I also helped out the rangers and other interns with several interactive children’s programs. With the Join the Army program, I helped sign kids up to "enlist" in the Union Army for the program, where they would learn about the life of a soldier, how to march, and how to load and fire a rifle. With the hands on history cart program, I tried to get kids engaged with history through trying on period clothing and costume.
Ranger Hoptak drills the new volunteers in fighting in ranks.

At the end of the week, I got to spend a lot of time on battlefield roves, that is, walking around the battlefield and providing visitors with information and directions. I really enjoyed this time, as it allowed me to get more familiar with the battlefield, monuments, walking trails, and gave me some direct interactions with visitors, many of whom needed directions and park information. 
Roving Cemetery Hill

My second week with interpretation taught me a great deal about the park, its services and programs, as well as what to expect when interacting with visitors. I’ve been told that as a Park Ranger you can only protect a park’s resources if you have an understanding of their cultural and historical value, and my time with the interpretation division did just that.

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