Over twenty years ago, my parents took me for the first time to Washington, D.C. during a winter vacation. I was six years old and the air was so cold it stung our cheeks, our hands holding tight to something warm to drink as we walked around the mall. During that visit, I saw the Lincoln Memorial; it is a site that has transfixed me ever since. At that time, and for many years after, I had no concept of what a “public historian” was or what such a person might do for a career. I did know that there was something incredibly important about that space and the people who had the opportunity to talk there (about our nation’s shortcomings and aspirations, our heroes and mythical figures, and even our failures) for a living. Trying to bring the complexity of the people of the past into the present is my passion. I am trained as a historian today, but the public part of my self-imposed title is just as important. I strive to play even one small part in another person’s transformative experience with history.
Early in my public history career, I worked on two separate exhibitions. In 2010, I researched mermaids, the Bermuda triangle, and all other sorts of folkloric topics for an exhibition entitled “Sinister Seas” (Mystic Seaport, 2010). The following year, I researched and then curated an exhibition called “Cases and Types: The Lives and Works of Early Newport Printers” (Newport Historical Society, 2011).
In 2012, I contributed to a UConn-based Digital Humanities project known as Virtual Hartford. I researched the history of children’s play in the city of Hartford, CT. In 2013, I was part of a development team that created a tool for writers called “Paper Trail.” More recently, I wrote several subject guides related to issues of race, the industrial revolution, and “child’s play” in Connecticut based newspapers. See this work with CT Digital Newspapers here.
In addition to these projects, I have been a proud contributor to exhibits and public history programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. I also worked with Nick Sacco to co-create this website on reinterpreting Freeman Tilden in spring 2019. I love talking public history, and I am available to offer workshops on topics such as the Progressive Era and women’s history.
When I am not working as a park ranger, you can find me talking history and culture on the Dolls of Our Lives podcast, formerly the American Girls podcast, which was featured in the New York Times.