Writing for, and about, children

by Christina Stebbins

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Old historic houses have a reputation for being boring and only focusing on one topic, yet Bulloch Hall has a plethora of stories! While the museum focuses on the Bulloch family and Theodore Roosevelt, Bulloch Hall also delves into the settling of Roswell, its Native American population, the Civil War, the role of slaves in the South, and the role of children in the 1800s.

As an intern, I organized research on Theodore Roosevelt and the lives of children in the 1800s to create pamphlets aimed at middle schoolers. For four hours a day, from Monday through Thursday, I would pour over old books, including multiple original copies of books written by Roosevelt himself. The Roosevelt pamphlet spanned his life, from growing up in New York during the Civil War with a father from the North and mother from the South to hunting and preserving the wildlife, his presidency, and his 1905 visit to Bulloch Hall and Roswell. The children’s pamphlet explains the expectations and roles that children had during the 1800s from the perspective of three different social classes: the wealthy living in big houses like Bulloch Hall, working classes living in apartment buildings called “bricks,” and slaves living in slave quarters on the land of the big houses. Children of all social classes had to follow certain rules of etiquette and social expectations learned at a young age. The biggest challenge I faced creating both of these pamphlets was fitting in everything I found! There was so much fascinating information, but had to condense.

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While I did not get much time working with artifacts, I did gain experience in understanding what it takes to manage an historic property. Since Bulloch Hall is small, with only four people working the main office, two people working the gift shop, and two people doing the handiwork and maintaining the property, it is easy to get a closer look at what needs to be done and how it gets done. I was present at a docent meeting and an interview for a potential new volunteer. I was also able to help a bit with a fundraising ball by helping to create a sponsor poster, organizing items for the silent auction, and organizing tickets for a raffle. My internship gave me exposure to behind the scenes running of an historic site.

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