Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wanted: Historians for Washington Crossing State Park

While looking at some of the Revolutionary War artifacts at the museum in Washington Crossing State Park (New Jersey side), the very nice man working there alerted me that the film was about to start. “OK, thanks.” He mentioned it again a few minutes later. I was looking at some of the maps and thought it very interesting how the European colonists perceived the coastline at that time vs. how the area has actually grown to this day. Raritan Bay was written in very large, bold letters. It was viewed as a hugely important port by this cartographer. New York was secondary and maybe even tertiary behind Delaware Bay for its access to Philly despite New York’s proximity to the Hudson River, if I remember correctly. Anyway, when we asked the nice man a question, he said, “I don’t know, I’m not a historian. I’m just stationed here today.”


Well, why can’t we hire historians to work at these museums? Why not history students studying nearby at Rutgers, Rider, Princeton, the College of New Jersey or any of the other area colleges? Why not their professors? How about retirees with an interest in the period? With all the challenges of managing a park system, with security, facilities maintenance and funding, staffing these historic sites with people who care about history should be the easy part.

Went to the Saratoga National Battlefield last week and the ranger at the desk (Eric Schnitzer) was not only helpful and informative but he was one of the reenactors who participates in the annual reenactment of the battle at Saratoga. He knew what he was talking about and I knew he could answer our questions credibly. Surely, even one participant in the annual reenactment of Washington leading his troops across the Delaware to Trenton would be interested in serving at the park that commemorates that event?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...