Today began the orientation to Historic Deerfield. The Main Street that all of the museum houses are located on is the Old Main Street, called "The Street." Apparently, unlike what most people think about New England, several towns in the western areas of the colonies are set up along a mile long main street instead of a town square. Deerfield has this lay out. We all had a walking tour this morning with the program tutor, Josh, and the co-tutor, Niki. As we walked, Josh pointed out different architectural patterns of the different houses, the general histories of most of the buildings, and just general information about the collections and other museum knowledge. This is going to be such a learning experience since I have never studied architecture before. I also have never had a class on the colonial period, so I am really out of my comfort zone here. After all, we don't talk about the 19th century in Deerfield...That isn't to say that my final paper can't cover this period, since Josh told us anything goes for the final paper so long as it is about New England and can use the library's resources, but more on that in a second.
After the tour and lunch, we went to the sister museum in town. It was really nice just to be able to wander around the museum and become familiar with the history. The lady working the front desk was also SUPER friendly and great to talk to. After having an hour and a half to wander the museum, Niki took us to the library for the orientation. Today I realized how spoiled I was at the Newberry. The reading room is so small, the collections aren't as large as the Newberry, and it generally isn't as fancy. That isn't to say the library is disappointing, because I know it will be useful; it's just very different from where I was eight months ago. I hope to find sources for the Irish in the area, but unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have the time to try and tackle that project. There weren't many Irish settlers in western Massachusetts, and what sources are here would have to be sorted through by me, which I don't have free time to do. I really hope I can find a diary or something from either the Revolution, the railroad, or the Lowell mill and work with that so I can at least mention the Irish, but I will see what I can find.
This evening we had a cookout for supper. After about half an hour, we finally got the charcoal started, and finally had burgers, but it was nice to just sit and talk with the group. I really enjoy all of my fellow fellows. Unlike at the Newberry, I don't feel inadequate, though slightly out-of-place. It could be because I have never been out East before, and even though there are two other girls from the Midwest (Deerfield, IL, and Kalamazoo, MI), they have both traveled and are more familiar with this region. Nevertheless, people aren't judgmental and we all are obviously history (especially public history) nerds. I mean, we WANT to do this for our careers. It's so great to just get to know everyone, share college stories, family experiences, etc. We have two articles to read for tomorrow about how to look at objects. Tomorrow, after pictures for our museum ids, we get to select an object to write our object study on. I'm kind of nervous since I have never really done this before, but this entire summer is just going to be a learning experience, so I will take it all in stride. I am off to do and read, but I will say, this is going to be more intense (in a very different way) than the Newberry. The research paper isn't as long, but the days are fuller and just as mentally draining. This is going to be an fun summer, but very, very busy. More details to follow...
Oh, and I realized that a.) I haven't a chance to take pictures yet, and, b.) I have to wait for my mom to send the cord for the camera, so you will have to wait for the pictures that I will eventually take to be posted.
Also, I will try to walk somewhere with internet everyday (even though I will probably be walking a minimum of two miles a day anyway), so we shall see if I can keep this up. Until tomorrow!