How are you connected to the Montshire?
As a long-time visitor and now I work in the facilities department. I do a lot of different jobs, but primarily I keep the grounds mowed.
How long does it take the mow the Montshire grounds?
If all the conditions are in my favor, about a day and a half of straight mowing.
Why do you choose to be involved?
I chose to be involved after I had a brief “internship” over winter break of my freshman year in college. I was asked if I wanted to come back and work over the summer. I said yes and here I am! This is my second summer working here.
When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
I have NO idea when my first visit was, but my sister and I came to the Montshire all the time when we were little. We also participated in several years of summer camps.
Can you describe your favorite Montshire experience?
I love two exhibits in particular: the Firefly House and the Leafcutter Ants. The ants are just fascinating; a quick perusal of the book at the exhibit makes you have an enormous amount of respect for them. The fireflies…I don’t really know how to explain why I enjoy it so much. I think I’m just a big fan of diorama-type exhibits that have some sort of mood-setting device. In the case of the fireflies, it's the background noise. When I’m cleaning in the morning, I take a few seconds behind the closed curtains of the Firefly House to just unwind. It’s strangely therapeutic.
What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
It’s not JUST for kids. I promise, EVERYONE can learn something new. Or at least let the kid in them out for a couple hours.
Is there one word you would use to describe the Museum?
Unending, and for two reasons. First, it really is extremely entertaining to work here. The people who work with me make my day every time I walk into the museum. Second, I always discover something new every day. If it’s a new exhibit that’s been in storage for years, a new nook that I didn’t know about before, or seeing wildlife on the property when I drive in the gates every morning.
The Montshire ten years from now?
I would like to see it stay pretty close to what it is now. I don’t think that it has changed a whole lot since my early childhood, and the changes that have been made are in keeping with the spirit of the museum. I trust that this will continue to happen long after the summer has ended.
What do you find most rewarding about working at the Montshire?
Two things. One, I get to meet so many great people. One thing I enjoy about my job this summer is that I’m consistently out and about, and closer to our visitors. The other is that I have a sentimental attachment to the Museum, and so even on those 'challenging' days, I just say to myself “this was my second home when I was little, and I will do what I need to do to keep it up and running.”
What is the best kept secret at the Montshire?
Rebecca Haynes. I’ve never seen her anything other than warm and welcoming. I remember someone telling me that his or her child wanted to come back to the Montshire specifically to see Rebecca.
Do you have a favorite Montshire story to tell?
Yes. Last year I was just learning how to drive the tractor (it’s a very VERY forgiving stick shift), and Montshire's gardener, Anne Fayen, trusting woman that she is, wanted me to get her a bucketful of water. On the way back to the site, I stalled the tractor, and doused Anne in dirty, tractor bucket water. I can now drive the tractor, for the record.
Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
I enjoy all of the Smithsonian museums, and anything to do with planes.