Sonia Booth ’10, Anthropology major
Summer 2009 I worked as a park ranger at the Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the summers of 2008 and 2009 and the summer before, I also volunteered in the archives helping to preserve and catalog books. I am interested in the education process and how one presents information about a certain culture or group of people through museum exhibits, so this job seemed to be the perfect fit. This is the site where the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived his adult life as he wrote his famous poetry. The Longfellow site contains several amazing collections, including all of the furniture and artwork that existed in the house during Longfellow’s time, and a vast collection of 19th century Japanese art that Longfellow’s son Charles collected on his travels to Asia. Charles Longfellow lived in Japan for about two years in the 1870s and was one of the first American tourists there.
At the site I conducted my own research to develop a tour of the house, and I gave tours to visitors from all over the world. The objects on display in the museum and the objects in the archives allowed me to understand 19th century America and Japan in a unique way: through primary resources. One of my favorite moments this summer was when the mayor of Kyoto, Japan, visited the site to learn about our collection and our preservation techniques. He and his group were amazed at the cultural treasures available to them there. I am so pleased to have had such an important role in preserving cultural history! This job has given me great experience for pursuing educational work and museum work after graduating from Colby.