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  • Home / News / Historic Preservation students roll up their sleeves for hands-on experiences across the country | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    Historic Preservation students roll up their sleeves for hands-on experiences across the country

    May 2, 2018

    May is National Preservation Month and Ursuline Historic Preservation majors are gearing up to tackle hands-on preservation projects from Maine to Oregon.

    “Our students will be busy at historic sites nationally and locally this summer,” said Historic Preservation Department Director Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D. “Field work is such an important extension of what they learn in class, and also helps set students up for their future careers. We incorporate it as much as possible in our classes, so it’s heartening to see our students embrace and expand on that with these truly unique opportunities.”

    Clay Fellows, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in May, will spend the summer in a paid internship at George Washington's Mount Vernon, gathering primary sources regarding the first president’s purchases of tools and materials between 1755 and 1802 for the expansion and repair of the property. He’ll be analyzing the material and writing summary-level reports to help historians better understand how the mansion evolved over the time Washington lived there.

    “I am hoping to gain new knowledge and experience surrounding a topic which I love,” Fellows said. “I am excited to live in a new area for the summer, meet new people, and make new connections at an institution as revered as George Washington's Mount Vernon. I am so thankful for the opportunity to use my expertise, learned at Ursuline, to contribute to such one of the most important and well-loved historic sites in America. I have never had an internship quite this extensive before.”

    Classmate Marissa Agbunag sent Fellows the link for this internship and Gerri Jenkins, Ursuline’s director of the Office of Counseling and Career Services, helped him polish his resume and cover letter. “I am very thankful for her help,” he added.

    Julia Judd, who is working on her master’s degree in Historic Preservation, is headed for Menokin in Warsaw, Virginia, home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Judd and 11 other interns will spend five days in May helping to build a transparent "ghost structure" on the archaeological footprint of one of the slave cabins. The completed structure will consist of a timber frame clad in a transparent sheath and will be used as an educational resource to help teach African American history.

    Judd, who won a scholarship to cover her expenses, looks forward to learning woodworking and joinery techniques from the 18th century to inform her master’s thesis. “I am also interested in understanding how the Menokin Foundation took information derived from archaeological excavations to recreate a structure. Lastly, I am hoping to learn more about the African American history of this site and how they would have built a dwelling on what was once a plantation in Virginia.” She learned about her field opportunity from Stith.

    Polly Bloom, also a graduate student in Historic Preservation, will travel to Astoria, Oregon, in June for a four-day Historic Preservation Field School at Clatsop Community College. She’ll earn two credits as she learns to repair woodwork, windows, stained glass and plaster. She’ll also take part in historic site tours in the Astoria area.

    “The hands-on conservation techniques I learn will help me to identify the restoration areas I could focus on for future work as an independent restoration consultant,” said Bloom. She too learned about this opportunity from Stith.

    Grad student Gail Peabody will be attending Maine Preservation's Old House Forum and Annual Meeting in Rockport, Maine. She’ll learn about how porches became a quintessential part of Maine life, how to deal with typical historic porch maintenance challenges, and how to “add a touch of history” to landscaping and gardens.

    Ursuline boasts Ohio's only bachelor's and master's degree programs in historic preservation that are approved by the National Council for Preservation Education for fully meeting its standards for preservation education degree programs.