This week I began establishing an advisory group for the digital memory mapping project, I attended several meetings with the Preservation Assistance team, I met with Amanda Casper to follow up on our meeting a few weeks ago and update her on what I've been doing. I also began developing a Google Drive folder to hold documentation of work I have done during my internship until this point, including the current draft of the LGBTQ+ Philadelphia sites spreadsheet, a reflection of the first memory mapping project, and my methodology in accumulating the sites spreadsheet. Finally, I heard back from Sue Ferentinos this morning with feedback on the LGBTQ+ Philadelphia sites list and responded.
During my meeting last week with Dr. Bruggeman, Bonnie, Helen, and Shaun, we discussed the need for me to arrange an advisory group of sorts to offer various perspectives on the social media digital memory mapping project. On Monday I contacted GVGK Tang, a colleague at Temple University who is familiar with digital projects and effectively engaging with the community. She offered several valuable insights: 1) She asserted that the demographic most likely to respond to a prompt to the project on social media is younger, middle-class, white people, a concern that Dr. Bruggeman voiced at our meeting on Friday. To close that age gap she suggested I consider going door-to-door at the John C. Anderson apartments, a housing development for LGBTQ+ elders. 2) GVGK also advised that I consult lower income, LGBTQ+ people of color on how best to resolve issues of representation in this project. 3) She finally suggested that I include women in the project, as lesbian sites have a history of being ignored. These were all incredibly valuable insights for me to consider as I begin developing this projects initial structures.
On Tuesday, I had several meetings in the NPS Northeast Regional Office. The first of these meetings was a Regional Manager's teleconference which Bonnie led for Preservation Assistance. I learned that these managerial teleconferences are monthly occurrences, and that different program managers lead the call each time. The conversation was centered around possibilities for collaboration between different programs within the Park Service's Northeast Region, and Amanda Casper suggested developing a system whereby smaller parks needing technical assistance could make their need known to other programs who have the expertise and/or interest in meeting their needs. Shaun and others on the call seemed to respond favorably to this proposal, and I think it would be fascinating to see that idea actualized.
My second meeting that day was the Preservation Assistance team's bi-weekly meeting, the primary focus of which was assisting a colleague from Park's Planning devise a plan for creating a new park to encompass two significant Quaker sites in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York which are nationally significant for their representation of exercising religious freedom in 17th Century America. Her presentation on this project was fascinating to me, particularly because she explained the criteria that Parks Planning look at when seeking to create a new national park. These criteria, I learned, differ greatly from those of prospective NHL's or nominees to the NRHP. The four criteria, of which a prospective park must meet all four, are national significance, suitability, feasibility, and the need for NPS management. I found it interesting that these criteria are more matters of the practicality behind establishing a new park than the historical significance of the site, though that is a point of consideration. Although they consider a site's significance, they also ask detailed questions around why the Park Service as an entity should be responsible for that site becoming a park.
My third meeting was an impromptu catch-up session with Amanda Casper. I explained the site list, memory mapping project, and the next memory mapping project and she offered me her insights on what my next steps should be on all of these fronts. She encouraged me to send an additional follow up email to those who signed on for the internal review creating a deadline for responses. The reasoning for this, with which I agreed, is that my internship is tentatively scheduled to end next Friday (though this may be subject to change) and that by that time I need to submit this list for external review as well, which I cannot do without feedback. She also encouraged me to create a Google Drive file holding all of my materials from my internship, including the current iteration of the site list, a reflection and collection of findings from the first memory mapping project, and a summary of my methodology for the site list.
My fourth and final meeting on Tuesday was with Bonnie and the Northeast Region's student interns. The purpose of this meeting was for Bonnie, as the manager for Preservation Assistance in the Northeast Region, to respond to questions from interns who are just beginning our work with the Park Service. She answered many questions about how her background, how she became involved with the Park Service, and what substantial changes she has seen during her time with the Park Service. It was a wonderful opportunity for me as much as for the other interns, most of whom were located either in Boston or Lowell in Massachusetts, to learn more about Bonnie's background. She answered many of the questions with stories, and I particularly appreciated the stories of her time with the Park Service's Tax Act, which dealt with historic sites seeking tax deductions for their status. In brief, this meeting, as with the previous one with Parks Planning, provided fascinating insights into NPS programs with which I have not personally engaged in my internship.
I spent today, July 26, following Amanda's advice on creating a Google Drive of my internship materials, and also responding to a feedback email from Sue Ferentinos. I was delighted to hear back from Sue on the list of sites I sent out a month ago, and to receive her thoughtful response. She asserted that some of the sites I listed under the blue category lack the national significance to be considered for NHL status, though they do possess substantial potential for local preservation. I responded inquiring whether these sites contribute sufficiently to national historical themes for nomination to the NRHP. Although the NRHP is not the primary focus for this project, I want to ensure I document this potential if she believes it exists. Sue also sent me three other individuals to consider adding to the list: Reed Erickson, John Fryer, and Gloria Casarez. I will begin researching these figures when I return to work next week.