Yesterday was my final day at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. It closes for renovation later this week. I was there a full eighteen months and can say that I have a deeper and more appreciative knowledge of American and international history than I did a year and a half ago. Much of this was due to the openness and generosity of the TRB rangers, especially Michael Amato and Daniel Prebutt.
Mike and Danny were always so welcoming to me. They allowed me be involved in many aspects of the site’s operations, not just giving tours but writing articles for the Facebook and website pages and helping in my own small way on other projects. An example was writing signage for the update of the Lower Museum Gallery. One of my favorite memories was commiserating behind the information desk after a tour and discussing the ins-and outs of the interpreter’s craft. Tailoring a talk to meet the expectations and interest level of the audience is so crucial. It was always exhilarating to see the swinging doors open and say hello to whoever was walking in. And they came across the country and around the world. Theodore Roosevelt is just that strong.
Just because I am no longer at the TRB doesn’t mean I am not continuing with the Roosevelts. The extended family is too much of a historian’s dream to do that. The Roosevelt Sr. book is moving along; I am also working on some things about Ted. The latter fits in well with the Great War Centennial. There is a lot of Roosevelt history at Governors Island that I will be focusing on this summer. These are just a few things.
I will miss the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace. Still, I leave with the good feeling of having learned and accomplished a great deal. I also have the memories of working with such talented and dedicated professionals as Mike and Dan. And for this I will always be grateful.