This week we started on Sunday, and we got to give a tour to a small group at the Iron Furnaces. I was excited to give a tour for the first time, and I think that it went well. We had a group of about 8 people who came for the tour, which in total lasted about a half hour. We discussed the time prior to the furnaces being built, their development, how they worked, how the business evolved and grew, and its eventual closure. I enjoyed doing the tour and liked being able to answer questions that the group had about the furnaces.
For the rest of the week at the museum we worked on updating files in Argus. We updated the locations and web descriptions of some artifacts that were accessioned early on at the museum. It was important that the files were updated, as it makes the items far easier to locate and use.
On Tuesday, I had another opportunity to help with public outreach. I was able to visit an elementary school with another worker from the museum for an outreach program to educate kids about the coal mining industry. I helped show some items to the group as they learned about the formation of coal, how it was mined, and the culture around the coal mining industry.
On Thursday at Eckley, we helped to clean a coal cracker that is going to be moved into the visitor’s center at Eckley. The machine was used to break down coal into useable lumps by an individual who was running a bootleg mining operation. Eventually, the coal cracker was just for personal use, and then was left behind. The coal cracker is essentially a miniature version of a breaker. Hopefully, before it is moved inside, it will be operated one last time so that a video can be taken of how the machine operates.
I very much enjoyed all the different projects I got to help with this week. Public work has been interesting and helpful for me to do, as I have not done very much of it before. It was also interesting to work on cleaning the coal cracker, and to be part of restoring the machine somewhat.