May 2nd to May 19th, 2017
This first journal will cover three weeks of activity instead of the usual two as I began my internship early and thus my “first week” and my actual first week are different.
My first days were spent in getting familiar with the National Historic Site. The Bell Homestead contains Melville House, the house the Bell family occupied when they emigrated to Canada, Henderson House, the first office of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada and the visitor’s centre, which is a modern building and houses the gift shop, theatre and offices. Artifact storage is in various parts of all three buildings, in areas off limits to guests.
I was busy learning how to open and close the historic homes for the day, as well as the history of the homes and their occupants so that I could provide tours and interpretation as soon as possible. We were also busy cleaning “behind the ropes” and cleaning out storage spaces for the oncoming busy summer season. Although some of the rooms were probably be re-arranged for the summer, it was good to get a thorough dusting in.
I was thrown right into school programming- not only tours, but also science and sense-based activities along with old telephone switchboard demonstrations.
As well, I went over my work plan with my supervisor and began work on my main projects for the summer, which include developing camp days for late summer and redeveloping an education program into a classroom teaching kit.
The Bell Homestead runs two weeks of summer camp programming in late August. Each day has a theme picked from the pages of National Geographic (Bell was the second president of the National Geographic Society and was largely responsible for the inclusion of pictures in what had been a very text-heavy publication). Although I will be assisting during all the camp days, I have taken charge of two of them- Dinosaur Digs and Castles and Knights and will develop an activity plan for both of these days.
I’ve started looking for resources about creating classroom kits. If anyone has any leads, I’d love to hear them.
We’ve also been involved in outreach programs.
At Brantford’s Waterfest, the Bell Homestead was present with 19th Century laundry gear to give kids a taste of what washing up used to be like.
On another note, we set up our summer exhibit! “Quilts Called Canada: 150 Years in Stitches” is an exhibit created by the Brant Historical Quilter’s Guild, a group of residents with an interest in quilting (and in history).
Each year since Confederation had a large quilt square made for it, the square representing something of historical importance to Canada. It certainly brightens the theatre in the visitors centre.
Let’s see what the next few weeks bring