Lessons Along the Way

Hello again from Philly!

 

We are at the halfway point of the program and there is so much to share about what I have learned here so far. Not only have I been learning about interpretation and visitor engagement skills, but I have also met so many cool park rangers and park guides here at Independence. Independence is unique in having many employees working at the park despite not being large in size compared to other national parks. I have been able to meet many wonderful rangers and volunteers, but have yet to meet everyone here. They are all truly wonderful and they love what they do. They are so fun to talk with and I have appreciated their efforts in helping me learn and also in their advice about Philadelphia and what to do. Everyone here has inspired me or helped me in some form or another and I am so appreciative of what they are doing because I know that they love what they do and are here to help our park visitors throughout their visit.

My fellow Intern Clay at his station as an artist in residence at the Liberty Bell center with the Proclaim Liberty Exhibit around him.
Took a picture at the Museum of the American Revolution.

As I continue to work here at Independence there are several things I have learned, in addition to learning about the humidity that exists here and how that feels. 

 

The first is that I love what I have been doing here at Independence and I think I really want to continue a career in public history as I come from a history background and am currently working towards my Masters in History. I cannot wait to share my experiences back home with my amazing professors and classmates upon the start of the new semester. I have really tried to find where I can best use my skills and knowledge as a historian and it helps to talk to some of the other rangers here at the park as many of them also come from a history background.

One of my favorite parts of the visitors center at the Independence Visitor Center.

Lesson #2: Using the Spanish language has been an important aspect of my job here at the park. As I mentioned in my last blog, I am working on the new Junior Ranger program and one of my tasks has been to translate the booklet into Spanish. I have also looked over the Spanish web pages for the national sites here in Philadelphia in addition to the website about Independence NHP. I have also used my Spanish every day I spend out in the visitors center as I help visitors plan their day and also answer questions about the park.

I love being able to speak Spanish with visitors and provide them with a sort of a safe space where they can ask me questions and where I can provide more information and stories about the park. This has been one of the highlights of the work I have been doing here at Independence as I enjoy meeting new people and being able to connect with them. 

 

Lesson #3: Working for the National Parks Service, specifically working with the visitors really impacts the rest of their visit and their overall experience at the park. I love getting to talk to visitors when they arrive at the visitors center and I know how important it is that we help them with their questions and any needs they may have. I have come to understand that working with the public can have its challenges, but being able to help them, talking to them, and connecting with them can influence their day. I know that we want to make sure that they have a great day visiting and learning about the historical aspects of our park. 

My fellow Park rangers after setting up the Declaration of Independence Pinwheel activity for kids at the visitors center.
Explaining how the phrase "All men are created equal" has been used by different historical figures over time despite its original intent.

Lesson #4: I am a people person. Ok, so I already knew this going into the internship, but it has definitely been reinforced by the work I have been doing here and by my supervisor. My supervisor is amazing and is constantly supporting me and guiding me along the way. She is always telling me how she sees me working for the National Park service and she tells me I have a skill for talking to people and connecting with everyone. I really appreciate her and all that she does for me and everyone else here at the park and; her kind and supportive comments help build me up. 

There are many more lessons I have learned and continue to learn during my time here and I look forward to learning more along the way. I wish I could share many more, but I’ll save them for another time. As I continue I learn more about the city, the people and myself as well. I am so excited to see what the weeks hold going forward and will keep everyone updated.

Until next time!

 

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