The current phase of the Greenwich Tea Burning Project came to a close last night and the team has returned safely to their respective homes to get on with the summer. Day 4 was bittersweet. We had a productive day in the archives, but also had to say goodbye to all of our new friends and acquaintances.
Two of those new friends were Tom and Mabel, the owners of the Greenwich General Store, which also happens to be the only store in this tiny historic town. Tom and Mabel cooked lunch for us each day and by the end of the trip seemed to really look forward to our daily visits. (You can see some of the team with Tom and Mabel at the Greenwich Tea Burning Project Facebook page).
Of course we also said goodbye, at least for now, to Jonathan Wood and Warren Adams, the guardians of the Lummis Library collections. We are grateful to Jonathan and Warren for keeping the library open for us and providing us with access to the materials. Jonathan was our fearless leader for the entire week and we appreciate his passion for history and working with students. We also want to thank him for taking us to Ocean City and buying us that delicious gelato!
I think the team left Greenwich pretty fired up about the project and the general sense was that we need to make another visit to complete our research.
But most importantly, I think the students who worked for the Greenwich Tea Burning Project got a glimpse of the way in which the study of history can serve a local community. Greenwich has a population of 800, so the presence of five “outsiders” wondering down “Ye Greate Street” (Greenwich’s main street), stopping into Tom and Mabel’s for lunch (a community gathering place), or touring some of the town’s eighteenth-century buildings, created quite a spectacle. Moreover, I think we are doing a service to this community by helping them to uncover their past and explore their identity in new ways. For the first time this week I truly saw the connection between the practice of history and service-learning.
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