06 Jul Nomad Living, HQ, Site Seeing, and Celebrating 184 Years
I cannot believe that another two weeks have passed! I was looking through my phone trying to find an image to use as my feature image and couldn’t pick one. As I begin my fourth week and reflect on the last two, I still can’t bring myself to truly believe that I am here, over three thousand miles away from my family. The time difference is killer; we are always missing our phone calls and text messages which makes being so far away even harder. Our housing situation in Virginia ended up backfiring on my housemates and I so not having a psuedo-home here also made it difficult. However, after spending a weekend moving from hotel to hotel, the house we have in Maryland is perfect for settling in and relaxing after a long day at work. Not that work seems like work most days. Although learning how to be a museum curator comes with a lot more cleaning than originally anticipated (which is something considering my anticipation for cleaning was none,) the work I get to do and the people I work with make this experience truly something special. My supervisor is everything I could have hoped for in a mentor and the rangers at Arlington House are all welcoming and willing to stop and answer questions. Our trips to Headquarters over in Turkey Run are also fruitful. My supervisor’s supervisors welcomed me right away and speak to me like a colleague. Their warmth made my transition easy and they are always looking out for me and asking how my time has been. It feels like a family in the best way, especially since the other two interns and I get along so well. My supervisor Kim had another intern named Carly and after realizing we were both from California, we hit it off instantly. Unfortunately her office sits at HQ so we only see each other when Kim takes us on field trips, there are meetings at HQ, or Kim needs her here at the mansion; but when we are together, we make the most of it. My title mentioned Site Seeing, and I meant that in every way possible. After our interview with director Jarvis, we toured the National Mall and did touristy things for a lot of the rest of the day. It was amazing! I am so grateful for the trips and plans that the coordinators at HAF have for us. I am also grateful to have a wonderful supervisor here at Arlington House who wants to make sure I get the most of my time here because that means she also takes me on field trips as often as she can.I have been to pretty much all of the stops on the GW Parkway, meaning I have seen Arlington House (duh,) Fort Hunt, the Clara Barton House, LBJ Grove, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Glen Echo Park, Dyke Marsh, Great Falls Park, Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, Turkey Run Park, and Arlington Ridge Park. Outside of the Parkway, she has also taken me to the Frederick Douglass House, the Ben Lomond Historical Site. We still have plans to head to Harper’s Ferry and Mount Vernon in the near future. On Friday the 26th, LHIP interns got an invitation to watch a movie screening at the White House. Long story short, there were technical issues at Pennsylvania Ave. so the group of six that had gone did not end up getting in. Instead we went for a drink. In case anyone has forgotten, the 26th was also when the Supreme Court passed the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage across the country. So, as my housemates and I were wandering back to the Metro, we happen across a crowd in front of the White House. This we knew was not all that uncommon, but with the brink of twilight setting on us, we noticed the lights reflecting on the White House. The rainbow lights and crowd of people holding balloons that read “Love Wins” were truly a sight to behold and I was once again reminded of how truly blessed I was to not only be in DC during this amazing time, but the serendipity that took us in the direction of the White House in the first place. I feel like I have already seen so much in the three weeks I’ve been here and can’t wait to explore even more both with LHIP and my supervisor. My job at Arlington House isn’t all play. These past two weeks have been a little hectic in preparation for the celebration we had on Tuesday, June 30th. To commemorate the 184th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s wedding to Mary Anna Randolph Custis, Arlington House had a reenactment of their vows at the house, in the exact place they were actually married. I had the privilege of helping to set up and decorate the parlor and dining room where it would all take place. The reenactment was amazing and the rangers and SCAs that participated did a great job of pulling off the period clothes. Although the wedding was only for that day, my supervisor put me in charge of setting up a more permanent exhibit using real artifacts from the Arlington House Museum Collection. I got to choose, plan, and put together an entire exhibit that will be on display through the summer. It was amazing! I have experience in exhibits and dealing with artifacts, but I had never been given that much freedom. It was really great knowing my supervisor trusted me enough to put everything up while she was away at meetings.