Week of 3/31

This week was split half and half between some really good things and things I should probably work on in the run-up to the due date. Starting with the good, I finally got some formal interviews down this week! On Thursday, I traveled out to Fred Boelt’s house in Toano and interviewed him about his childhood home and the Williamsburg area. Hearing about the area around campus and how it’s changed in his time was really cool. And as cool as I thought he was before, Fred is actually way, way cooler. His house dates to the 1800s and he owns roughly 8 peacocks because of course he does. His interview provided some good perspective about Williamsburg and town-gown relations as it relates to the three-person rule.

I also interviewed Amanda Morrow, a senior who violates the three-person rule currently. Maybe it was just because she answered concisely, but the interview ran much shorter than I was anticipating at only 22 minutes. Even the very chatty Fred clocked in at 47 minutes. My list of prepared questions was already lengthy; I think I’ll have to work on coming up with more on the spot. In addition to those two oral histories, I also had two informational interviews with one student who serves on the planning commission and another who just lives off-campus in a normal house (a point of comparison to Amanda). Just getting started on interviews lifted a huge mental weight. I’ll have to keep at it next week as well.

Of course, the secondary research took a back seat to these matters again. I really need to get to that soon. Hopefully I can also make contact with some non-student renters as well, in addition to some resident homeowners. The number in the directory for Bill Dell is apparently a different Bill Dell than served on the Focus Group (or else he just doesn’t want to give me the time of day at all) and Flora Adams hasn’t called back yet. I’ll follow up with her soon.

Overall, a productive-ish week, but I feel like I won’t feel productive until this project is done.

 

 


About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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