Monday, July 06, 2015

Day 6 - Researching in the Library

Stacks at Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington

Today most of my time was at Mount Vernon as a Life Guard Teacher Fellow was spent in the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington.  The library is an invaluable resource for me as I work on a lesson plan incorporating the fundamentals of archaeology with the archaeological work at Mount Vernon as the basis for the content.  Imagine a library with nearly everything imaginable about not only Washington but also his time. These resources are in both physical form and on digital databases.  

I have discussed my lesson plan with the library researcher and Sarah then helps me by providing a list of titles in the collection that might be a good fit for my studies. Some of the titles are in the physical collection upstairs in the stacks.  These titles I am able to take off the shelf and use in the reading room or check out for the time period that I am here as a fellow.  If a title I am interested in is available in the closed stacks - for example rarer books or older books in more delicate physical condition - then Sarah is able to go get the title for me to use in the library's reading room. 

Materials on archaeology at Mount Vernon pulled from the stacks today for me

Just walking through the stacks is mesmerizing.  Almost anything written on Washington is here obviously - I found one written in Chinese - but also books on every imaginable topic relating to colonial life.  If you want to research colonial kitchen utensils or farming techniques used in colonial Virginia you will find it here. 

George Washington book in Chinese

Several of the titles I had pulled today were reports from archaeological surveys conducted here at Mount Vernon. I want to use this information in creating a variety of real world examples for the lesson I am creating. 

Part of my morning was spent listening to Pulitzer Prize winning author Gordon S. Wood. He is currently a guest lecturer for a Gilder Lehrman teacher institute taking place this week. After asking permission they said I was allowed to drop in on any lectures during the week. Today the lecture that I dropped in on was a discussion of how the colonist began to move to a mindset of sovereignty independent of British government when they were forced to decide after being told they could have a mix of home rule and British sovereignty. 

Tomorrow I will continue to research Mount Vernon archaeology reports and in the afternoon I have a meeting with two of the archaeologist here at Mount Vernon and the opportunity to ask very specific questions about the work here on site. 

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