Tag Archive for Service Learning

Cottier ’12 Explores Tales from a Middletown Historic House

Charlotte Cottier ’12 spent the week hanging posters for her exhibit at the General Mansfield House on Main Street. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

While the rest of her classmates finished exams and headed for Foss Hill, Charlotte Cottier ’12 spent the sunny days of Finals Week inside the General Mansfield Home, getting ready to reveal excerpts from personal letters documenting a husband’s Western frontier travel to his wife at home, a nearly-failed courtship, and a myriad other stories that a nearly 200-year-old house can hold.

Cottier, an American studies and sociology major, is a guest curator for the Middlesex County Historical Society, hanging her exhibit “Within These Walls: One House, One Family, Two Centuries,” which opened May 20.

“The main theme is the social history of the house—showing the changing landscape of people and ideas that have marked a steadfast building so that it really comes alive,” she says.

The exhibit is culmination of a year-and-a-half of work and was sparked by the anthropology course, Middletown Lives, which she took in the spring of her first year. It was in the context of this service-learning course that Associate Professor Gina Ulysse “framed for me the idea of doing a public service by documenting history that hadn’t been recorded.”

Keck Supports O’Connell’s River Project

Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, associate professor of environmental studies, director of the Service Learning Center, received a $21,850 grant from the Keck Geology Consortium to support the “Connecticut River Project.” The award is effective through June 30, 2011.

Service Learning Class Studies Local Cemetery

Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies, and Anne Calder '11 use a scanning tool to survey grave markers in the Washington/Vine Street Cemetery Oct. 2.

Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies, and Anne Calder '11 use a scanning tool to survey grave markers in the Washington/Vine Street Cemetery Oct. 2.

On Oct. 10, 1741, Mr. William Bartlit was laid to rest in the Vine/Washington Street Cemetery near Wesleyan University. According to his gravestone, Bartlit was “aged about 70 years” and was “the first interred in this yard.”

“Mr. Bartlit has the oldest marker in this cemetery,” says Elizabeth Milroy, director of the Art History Program and professor of art history and American studies at Wesleyan University. “We would like to find out more about him.”

Milroy, who is teaching the Service Learning Course AMST 205 “The Study
of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown,” is assigning each of her eight students particular grave markers in the cemetery. Students will conduct research on a deceased person, while studying how artifacts can mark the history of space and place within the urban environment of Middletown.

John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches Anne Calder '11 how to conduct a digital site survey using a total station. The equipment records the 3-D location of the corner of each stone on the site, and results in an accurate representation of the cemetery. Calder is enrolled in the class, "The Study of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown."

John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches Anne Calder '11 how to conduct a digital site survey using a total station. The equipment records the 3-D location of the corner of each stone on the site, and results in an accurate representation of the cemetery. Calder is enrolled in the class, "The Study of Material Culture: Marking the Past in Middletown."

In addition, students will gain a working knowledge of the theoretical approaches that have been applied to material culture studies, as well as practical experience in the physical and contextual analysis of artifacts and cultural landscapes.

On Oct. 2-3, John Hinchman, a lecturer and research specialist in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania, taught Milroy’s students how to use a “total station” and scanner tool to map the cemetery’s terrain and grave markers. The collected data is imported into engineering software AutoCAD, and as a result, the class will have a detailed and accurate map of the entire cemetery’s physical layout.

“There’s no paper work on this cemetery, so we know no more about who is buried here than what their headstones say,” says Augie DeFrance, president of the Middletown Old Burial Ground Association.

At the end of the semester,