Experience your America.
This is the current slogan of the National Park Service — my employer for the next two months.
Monday marked the tenth summer that I have worked for the National Park Service as a seasonal employee. At this point I have seen all sides of the job. I started out in maintenance and grounds crews, did some administrative work, moved to natural and cultural resource protection, assisted in law enforcement security, and then moved to the interpretive division.
Baltimorians, are you aware that you have two of the best kept treasures of the area in your own backyards?!
Go check out both sites. There’s definitely something for everyone. Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine is the birthplace of the national anthem and a major battle site of the War of 1812. (By the way it’s the big Bicentennial year of that event!) And in Towson Hampton Mansion & Historic Site is a well preserved southern plantation and slave quarters venue with great examples of Victorian landscaping and Georgian architecture.
I love being a Ranger in the summer. It’s really just a different form of teaching and it’s an opportunity to cultivate my passion for American history. History was my first major back in college, after all. Back before I changed it to English.
This year I switched sites and will be working out of Fort McHenry. I’ve got to learn completely new facts and how to articulate them in an engaging narrative for the visitors. While it can be challenging, I am up for it. I’m excited to be doing something so different.
My only real Ranger woe is that there is a A LOT more standing at the Fort than at Hampton and my teaching job combined! I like all the walking. That I can handle. The standing still for an entire shift on a concrete floor in the visitors’ center or the Star Fort is a little less enjoyable. My feet are killing me!
Anyone have any ideas or tips about great boot inserts?
*Picture Sources: National Park Websites for both sites, which are linked in this article.*