Staff & Volunteer Spotlight — Meet Roxanne Glassenberg
by Roxanne Glassenberg, Education Intern, Rock Point School
I am a senior at Rock Point School in Burlington, and I recently spent a month and a half of alternating Wednesdays interning at Rokeby Museum. I learned more about museums/collections management in that time than I have in the rest of my life. The historic home on the museum grounds has not been open in more than two years, but even a global pandemic can’t stop dust from collecting.
I want to pursue Museum Studies in college and the educational internship opportunity at the Rokeby Museum provided me with hands-on experience about how museums are run. While I was at Rokeby, I learned by doing. I vacuumed beds in the rooms above the kitchen that may have been used by freedom seekers who traveled north on the underground railroad. I cleaned a beautiful wooden pipe rack carved with grimacing faces. I cleaned the covers and spines of books on topics as diverse as nursery rhymes, George Washington, and phrenology.
My favorite object that I worked on during my time at Rokeby was a beautiful globe of the heavens on a bookshelf in the library. When I first saw it, I assumed it was a typical globe, similar to its companion across the bookshelf. But on closer inspection, the outer ring of the globe was inscribed with the months of the year and the names of zodiac signs. Spanning the globe itself were constellations — crabs, crows, and dragons, in antiqued colors. This globe is a good representation of why I am so passionate about history. When examining the past, it’s the details that stand out. In a sea of names and dates, it’s the bits of daily life, the forgotten scraps of humanity that I love.
Working at Rokeby Museum placed me smack dab in the middle of an incredible collection of artifacts from Vermont’s storied past, and each and every one of the artifacts had a story that I got to be a part of.
In my time working in the house, it was easy to get lost in the details of the cleaning and forget that the object I was working on was from what had once been someone’s bedroom. Someone woke every day and looked at the china pitcher that I was trying very hard not to break. Working at Rokeby Museum placed me smack dab in the middle of an incredible collection of artifacts from Vermont’s storied past, and each and every one of the artifacts had a story that I got to be a part of. As I pursue museum studies in the future, I believe that I will look back on my formative time at Rokeby as an invaluable experience and opportunity. And when I look up at the stars at night, I will remember that they are the same ones on that faded globe tucked away in the library of the Robinsons’ house.