Stitching Together History

Sewing on a Display Sleeve for the Freedom Quilt Reconstructed Freedom Quilt on Display at FRNHS.


Eighteen working days into my summer internship and they have absolutely flown by! From my first day getting oriented with the area to my current schedule of giving programs on the Freedman’s Colony and running the visitor’s center, I can confidently say that I am a more refined version of my former self who arrived in Manteo just over three weeks ago. While the homesickness is most definitely kicking in, I am surrounded by the most wonderful individuals imaginable who make the 1,400 miles seem a little closer. Although I am the only individual who has yet to have children, being surrounded by working parents is great because not only do you get the dad jokes and motherly confidence, but the advice and generosity as well. I could not be happier with the Fort Raleigh staff and I try to repay their kindness with a genuine excitement about work… and weekly baked goods.

Key for the Freedom Quilt

My typical work week involves lots of human interaction, which is precisely what I was hoping for when I accepted the position. While running the welcome desk, I am responsible for greeting incoming visitors, answering the park phone and guest questions, and distributing Junior Ranger books while also getting to swear them in. Here, I get to meet people from around the world all interested in the stories Fort Raleigh has to offer. Aside from this, I am also running the Freedman’s Colony Program, which runs daily at 12:00pm and 2:00pm and discusses the history and importance of the colony in Outerbanks’ History.  When I am not in the visitor’s center or giving programs, I walk the park grounds answering visitor questions and surveying the area for litter, artifacts, or animals. (This place is full of life!)

While my typical work week is nothing out of the ordinary, I have been able to utilize other skills outside of public speaking and guest interaction to contribute to the park, including sewing and graphic design. Last week, I was tasked with sewing a display sleeve to our reconstructed Freedom Quilt which we will have on display in the visitor’s center for the remainder of June. In addition to this, I was also tasked with making digital representations of each square to be utilized on a key that will be on display next to the quilt. This will allow guests to better understand the meaning behind each part. This weekend, Cathy, Mona (park volunteers), and I will be traveling to Somerset Place State Historic Site to give two talks on the Roanoke Freedman’s Colony and discuss the importance of lesser known histories in the national narrative.

While I have yet to find the whereabouts of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony, I have discovered my place in the Fort Raleigh family. As I continue to progress through the weeks, I hope to continue growing in my interpretation skills so that by the end of week six, I am leading more programs and pop-ups that add to the visitor’s overall experience. While I am only here for the summer, I want to ensure that my time spent here was not only productive but also impactful on the future growth and development of this small national park.

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