Making a Living, Doing What I Love – in the Field of History

Kelly, WPU GalleryPreserving every historic site in the state of New Jersey was what I told my current employer I wanted to do in the next ten years; we both had a good laugh.  Although my goal maybe unrealistic, I am certain that I will find other ways to educate and showcase the many great historic places New Jersey has to offer in the years to come.

I began my journey by completing my first Bachelors in History in 2011.  During this time I began interning at Ringwood Manor (Ringwood, NJ).  Ringwood Manor is the 51-room summer home of nineteenth century industrialists Peter Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt, and their families from 1854 to 1936.  The youngest Hewitt child, Erskine Hewitt, donated the Manor and surrounding grounds in 1938 to the State of New Jersey.  The Manor house was left completely furnished and contains a wide variety of artifacts, artwork, furnishings, decorative items, and documents.  My internship required me to work alongside the historian of Ringwood Manor cataloging the historic objects according to the American Association of Museum’s professional standards.  This included: assigning numbers and labeling each object; learning proper handling procedures for historic artifacts; learning the museum nomenclature terminology; thoroughly describing each object; and researching the history and assigning dates to each object.  After being trained on the system, I entered all the pertinent information about each artifact into the Past Perfect 4.0 museum software program.

Because I could not get enough experience with artifacts, I re-enrolled into a second degree program at William Paterson University for Anthropology, earning another BA in 2012.  My focus naturally was on material culture and archaeology.  I continued to intern at Ringwood Manor and became eager to pursue opportunities at other historic places in NJ.

My next move was to be a part of the Applied Historical Studies Track at William Paterson University.  Going into a graduate program was the next step for me to develop a more professional stance on “doing” history and learning how to preserve museum collections and places for the public.  Upon my acceptance into the program, I was given a Graduate Assistantship at the University Galleries.  Working in the gallery I assisted with handling artwork, installing and de‐installing exhibitions, performing gallery maintenance, and coordinating exhibitions.

Currently I hold a position in the Division of Historic Preservation for the City of Paterson.  My work for the city has been very rewarding as well.  I have learned different approaches and ways of thinking about preservation and history.  I am able to assist the public in a variety of ways from regulation of signage in the Downtown Commercial Historic District, research for landmark designations, and offering tours of Paterson’s historic places.

My engagement with promoting and preserving Paterson’s historic environment developed my further interest in focusing on nineteenth century industrial history. I have always been attracted to the nineteenth century, more for its social and fashionable character. However through Ringwood and Paterson, (places very rich in industrial history), have been foundations to my thesis research in this program.

As important social media has become, I have never been one for blogging, tweeting or releasing frequent posts on Facebook.  I hope that this blog can be beneficial to my research for feedback and shedding a new light on New Jersey history.

Other than being invested in my work and education, I enjoy frequent traveling, riding horses, bowling, movies, cooking and art.

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5 Responses to Making a Living, Doing What I Love – in the Field of History

  1. Ana Ruffel says:

    Very nice work. You have always been determined and an inspiration to your family.

  2. Linda Clark says:

    I could not be more impressed or proud of what you have accomplished in your young life. you have for filled your dream and allowed others to be inspired by your tenacious determination.

  3. maria says:

    I happy kelita,deus te abencoe I love you

  4. Alma cottone says:

    Fantastic article. You shoot for the stars and learn as much as you can. Very interesting career.

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