Internship Journal: Week Nine

Massanutten Mountain from Belle Grove

Massanutten Mountain from Belle Grove

After a nice spring break in Florida, I returned to school this week. Also, I returned to my job at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Now until the end of the semester, I will be working Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I will be conducting research for park use, research and preparation for my Kernstown program, assisting visitors and conducting regular interpretative programs.

I gave my first tour of the season today. Two older women attended my 2-hour driving tour of the Cedar Creek battlefield. It was great to dust off the interpretative cobwebs and get back into the grove. After the tour, I got really excited for the upcoming spring, summer and fall seasons with all the special opportunites I have interpreting coming up. As I was leading my tour, I was attempting to think about how I convey my knowledge of the battle in a clear, thematic and chronological order. Having given tours of the battlefield now for three years, my knowledge base is getting a lot bigger. And there is no way I can convey all of my knowledge to a tour group in 2 hours. (They probably would not want to hear all the information either). So, the the real question is, what do you chose to say? And, how do you say it? This is a tricky balancing act between the contextual and the specific or big ideas and minute details. A good mix of these, I think helps create an effective interpretative outcome for the visitors. You could talk all about one regiment during the battle, but then the bigger picture can be lost and vice versa. Getting to my point, thinking forward to my Second Kernstown program, I am attempting to figure out that balance now. The balance between the particular and the bigger ideas and events.

Belle Grove Plantation, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Belle Grove Plantation, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Sign promoting my driving tour of the battlefield

Sign promoting my driving tour of the battlefield

What sparked this was that I began to type out my detailed outline for my Kernstown program, and put on paper my research. This will consist of my interpretative theme, as well as guide of my stops and what material will be covered at each stop. I have a tendency to put too much information on my outlines, putting details everywhere. But, this helps me remember the details and make sure I have the details in case a visitor inquires. In addition to starting my outline, I have decided to produce an annotated bibliography for my program. Building off my skills being learned in HIST 395, I want to apply them to the real world. By producing one, I figure my supervisor can see where all my research has came from, as well as to serve as a finding aid for future park rangers after my time is done. So, I have also been working on this portion of my research.

My desk covered in research materials

My desk covered in research materials

I confirmed my site visit to the Kernstown Battlefield itself. Eric Campbell (NPS) and Gary Crawford (KBA) and I will all be visiting the site on Monday, April 14th. This will really help be decide my tour stops and what should be covered in each. Overall, this was a great weekend. It was a pleasure to get back into interpretation and start putting down my research in the form of an outline and annotated bibliography.

Hours Completed this week: 16

Total Hours: 84

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