This week, our team got the opportunity to meet and learn about the ‘Branching Out’ team, which is another program at the Olmsted Center. They are a field based team that works on Landscape Preservation Maintenance on a new site every week. As high school and undergraduate students, this program serves as an introductory experience to the National Park Service. Our team also had the chance to present our current work to them and speak about OCLP and each of our organizations (SCA+HAF) ,which intrigued this group of youth because they were interested in the variety of opportunities provided by the NPS and its partners. I would look out for some upcoming SCA and HAF interns in the future from the current Branching Out team 🙂 (Check out their blog: http://npsbranchingout.com/ )
After our presentations, we accompanied the Branching Out team to a Black Heritage Trail tour (which we must not confuse with the well known Freedom Trail in Boston). It was a great experience to hear about a part of history that isn’t always told or embraced. Cultural experiences like these are amazing. If you’re ever in Boston, I would recommend and I want to thank Branching Out for letting our team join them. In the near future, DTP plans on attending one of their ‘talk backs’ and hopefully join them in some field work to get more of a hands on perspective of what they do for the NPS.
Following our tour, we had a ‘Brown Bag Lunch’ with Christine Arato, a Historian at the NPS. Her role is to provide guidance and assistance to parks and programs for resource management and interpretation, helping to bridge the practices of preservation professionals in documenting and conserving important resources and public encounters with place, power, and the practice of history. What struck me the most about this meeting was the question of ‘Would you be attracted to attending a National Park that aims to teach us about the history of the Civil War’? and as a response from another intern, the topic of validity within this ‘history’ came up. Who are telling these stories that provide the park with historical information? Are they valid? or are they sugar coated? Christine then brought up the point of history itself is the act of ‘Retrieving and Scrambling’, thus the way in which our minds work sometimes does rewrite a story or even cause a story to become open ended, which is normal. Therefore, we cannot always determine the accuracy of the past, which is why the most important value that should be of concern is the PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTING THE PAST within these parks.
Our team also got the opportunity to meet Dave Barak and Emely Poore, both ‘Student Conservation Association’ (SCA) staff to also give them an overview of our program and current projects. We hope that they have enjoyed their time in Boston learning about OCLP as well as meeting with many other SCA participants throughout the Boston area. You guys are welcome here anytime!
To wrap up the week, I finalized all of my photo-simulations for the Governors Island project and am now moving on to working on the mapping documentation. In the mist of this completion, out team got together to review the week and get some feedback from our coworkers. This allows us to progress in our projects and see things from another point of view. Its a very refreshing way to end the week!
I cant wait to see whats in store for me next week. Until then!