Editors notes: One of the craziest parts of my “curatorial” jobs is working with a unique group of high school students to teach them about historic preservation and philanthropy (nope, not covered in grad school curriculum). It also happens to be one of the BEST parts of my job. It is called the Watson-Brown Junior Board.
People in our field stress over how to get kids to love museums and history. To me, the best way is to ask them to be involved and to find out their thoughts on the matter. So, it seemed right to have the world hear from two of the students in our program. This week’s post is from Thomas Williamson. He is a Junior in high school and has aspirations of being an architect. — Michelle Zupan, Curator, Hickory Hill, Thomson, GA
When the college counselor at my school first mentioned the Watson-Brown Junior Board, I had no idea what the Board was, what it did, or what incredible opportunities it provided for young students. Having been born and raised in the historic Summerville district of Augusta, Georgia and coming from a long line of construction workers and craftsmen, the passion for and fascination with historic structures is in my blood.
After applying and being accepted into the Watson Brown Board, I arrived for my first Board meeting in October. I was immediately blown away. I entered a magnificent house on a gorgeous estate where I found several new faces all gathered a table and eating delicious food. In the short meeting that followed, I made a number of new friends and discovered what a unique surprise I had chanced upon.
I never would have thought that I would be a member of one of only three Junior Boards in the world and all that that entails. It was not long before I found myself on a road trip with my fellow board members to Lexington, Georgia. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience meeting with the two other boards, finding new friends, learning the story of Lexington, and the efforts to preserve that story. To see the impact we could have on the legacy of these historic sites is truly powerful and humbling.
In the short time that I have been a member of the Watson Brown Board, I have fallen in love with it. I look forward to many fun and enriching experiences to come. The Board is a rare chance for young people to uncover the fantastic world of historic preservation.
— Thomas Williamson, Watson-Brown Junior Board, Georgia