Welcome to the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, Virginia! My name is Maura Stephens, and I am an intern here at the DHR. The Department works alongside many museums and organizations across the state in order to preserve and promote Virginia’s fascinating and important history. Our facilities include a conservation laboratory and a study collections room.
The artifacts housed in the collections room are just a small sample of what we have. In our large storage area, we have over 7000 boxes and millions of individual artifacts from archaeological sites all over Virginia.
A typical day for me includes washing artifacts, bagging and labeling them, storing and sorting boxes of artifacts in the storage room, and doing research. Today specifically, I and a couple of high school volunteers are washing artifacts that were delivered to the DHR earlier this week. They are from a clay smoking pipe factory that operated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Pamplin, Virginia (44AP01).
I have been researching the Pamplin pipe factory this summer, and I have also been designing an exhibit that will be on display in the Department. We have hundreds of the pipes in many styles and colors in our collections, and I have grown quite fond of them over the past couple of months!
As well as washing pipe and sagger fragments with the volunteers, I am sorting washed and dried pipes by style and bagging and labeling them for storage. I also bag other artifacts from the site, such as brick fragments and glass shards.
I have learned a great deal while working at the DHR this summer, and I look forward to more experiences in the wonderful field of archaeology!