June 7, 2019
An Ursuline summer course in Exploring Archives took Historic Preservation and English undergraduates off campus recently to put their emerging skills into practice. Students and staff alike pitched in to help inventory the holdings of the Shanower Library/Archives at Century Village Museum, operated by the Geauga County Historical Society in Burton, Ohio.
The course was created and taught by Dr. Bari Oyler Stith, director of Ursuline’s graduate and undergraduate programs in Historic Preservation, and Dr. Katharine Trostel, chair of Ursuline’s English Department and specialist in digital humanities.
“Diaries and correspondence unearthed by our students and staff reveal the very rich experiences of life in Geauga County over the past two centuries," said Stith. "We are grateful for the Historical Society's devoted volunteers and staff who made this experience possible for our students.”
Reviewing archives helps students appreciate how decisions made in the past can shape the present, Stith said. “This archive matters just as much as ‘This Place Matters,’” Stith said, referring to the national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.
To better understand the connections between the archival materials they were sorting and the community they were learning about, Ursuline students toured Burton Village’s National Register Historic District, including the 1891 mansion built by Burton’s first mayor, George Ford, and now adapted into Quintealia’s Tea Parlor. Sipping tea there, students experienced adaptive reuse in action.Stith noted that Quintealia’s owners Annette Phillips and Renee Petro have launched a successful business, preserved an important landmark, and increased heritage tourism in the historic district.
Pictured are Jared Hyams, Historic Preservation major; Dr. Katharine Trostel, English Department chair; Michelle Bennett from Ursuline’s Office of Counseling and Career Services; Sunni Wong, Historic Preservation major; Mara Shatat, Ursuline College Archivist; and Ashley Serraglio, English major.