It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. The winter season tends to be fairly slow at JNEM, and the continued construction at the Arch has definitely not helped. But we’ve got some cool programs coming up and a hand-full that have already been a success!

The first being a quilting program created to coincide with the Centennial Quilt Exhibit that made its way to 13 National Parks around the country, including ours!

This program was provided in part by two local artists in the St. Louis area. The program featured programs like “Connecting Children to the Arch”, “Quilting and the Underground Railroad”, a handful of quilts representing significant events in the civil rights movement, and one quilt on loan from Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, displaying the life and history of President Grant.

_________________________________________________________________

Additionally, in January we had an awesome turnout for a new “training” that I and others had been working on throughout the past few months. The idea of this training was to partner with a local school and train volunteers to help us create a meaningful public flag folding ceremony.

img_3866
Captain Peter Davenport gives folding instructions to the cadets
img_3864
Chief of Museum Services and Interpretation, Rhonda Schier, explains the importance of this Garrison Flag as an historical artifact as well as the opportunity for public engagement

JEFF staff take down the 20 x 36′ garrison flag from our rotunda every fall anyway, so we thought this would be an excellent way to further our park’s public engagement as well as increase our awesome pool of volunteers!

img_3855img_3868

We aim to develop an ongoing partnership with the Cleveland ROTC Jr. Naval Academy for this program. We are very excited about the future of this event as it is a benefit to both our park and the school. The cadets gain valuable experience as members of what we are calling a “volunteer color guard”. They get to be a part of a ceremony celebrating our park and engage with the public in a patriotic and meaningful way. This program is also a generational program as the Manchester Elks lodge (one of our previous partners) gets to participate and interact with the cadets as well.

img_3882
Cadets fold the flag in half twice
img_3842
The flag is then folded into triangles with the stars facing up at the end
img_3836
Rhonda Schier and our awesome partner at the Manchester Elks, John Buckner!

-“This kind of public exposure will be great for our school, and great for our cadets” -Cpt. Peter Davenport

The Cleveland Academy exceeded our already high expectations when they easily handled our giant flag and then spontaneously pulled out a two-man drum line to strengthen the feeling of orderly ceremony. This event will be an awesome opportunity for our new volunteer color guard to showcase their skills and even teach the public how to get involved with this soon to be annual event.

img_3878
Rhonda Schier stands to receive the flag while cadets salute and drum students play

New Partners engaged: 1

New Volunteers Recruited: 22

Photo Credit: Al Bilger, National Park Service

 

Bryce Yoder

Student Conservation Association

Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial