Every year, summer campers from all over Maryland come to Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum to experience history and archaeology first-hand. Whether they are participants in our own JPPM camps or they are visiting the Park and Museum with other summer programs like The Center for Talented Youth or an outdoor adventure camp, they are treated to all that JPPM has to offer. Learning excavation techniques at the Smith’s St. Leonard archaeology site, experimenting with native skills in the Indian Village, and working with conservators to preserve artifacts in the MAC Lab are only a few of the activities. This year, JPPM Dirt Alert campers not only used their green thumbs in our native garden, but they also surveyed an archaeological site. And JPPM’s Colonial Survival campers learned all about building fires and cast iron cooking as they prepared a colonial feast for their families!
Conservators at the MAC Lab are treating a timber from a historically important wharf owned by William Bartlet that stood on the waterfront of Newburyport, MA in the late 18th century. This large sawn timber was part of a bulkhead that had been preserved under fill until it was recently excavated by archaeologists. The timbers of the bulkhead were discovered in excellent condition and their beveled edges and lap joints provide information about how the wharf was built. At the time it was unearthed the timber was believed to be pine, but our conservators have identified the species as hemlock, a type of wood we don’t typically encounter here at the MAC Lab. After conservation in completed, this artifact will go on display at the Newburyport Maritime Museum as the museum’s first recovered example of an 18th-century wharf timber.
Sadly, we must say goodbye to conservator Nancy Shippen as she relocates to her home town of Atlanta, Georgia. Nancy came to us over 2 ½ years ago from University College London. During her time at JPPM, she has cheerfully worked on many projects in the conservation department of the MAC Lab. Her smiling face could be seen peeking around; iron artifacts from the Jamestown Settlement, a cannon traverse rail from Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, wooden ship parts from Blackbeard’s flagship, artifacts from the U.S.S. Monitor, World Trade Center shipwreck timbers, and so much more. We wish Nancy well and we will greatly miss her wonderful smile.