Staff & Volunteer Spotlight — Meet Sawyer Ryan

Sawyer Ryan

by Sawyer Ryan, 2021 Intern

Hello, my name is Sawyer. Ever since I was little, I had a great interest in the events of the past. I graduated from Plymouth State University in 2020 with a History degree and I started interning at the Rokeby Museum in November of that year. Since then, I worked on many projects that helped me learn about the fascinating history of the Robinson family. I spent most of my time here scanning letters, photos, and drawings into the digital archive here at the Rokeby Museum. That might sound boring to many, but I had a great time doing it, especially when I found several treasures out of the stacks of items. 

These projects allowed me to travel back in time to almost a hundred years ago to view the eventful lives of the Robinsons. Reading some of the letters they sent to one another breathed life into these people and made them feel alive again. By far my favorite part of my internship was looking at and scanning the Robinson vast photo collection. Seeing the old Vermont countryside from the summit of Mt. Philo and Route 7 as a narrow dirt road were just some of my favorite photos. They really opened my eyes on how Vermont has changed during the last hundred years. Another cool set of photos are of the construction of the first bridge crossing Lake Champlain. As a reenactor of both the American Revolutionary War and French and Indian War it was neat to see some of the photos of Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga before it was rebuilt. It was fun to think that the Robinsons may have had the same fascination with these old sights as I do.

I also found the house and grounds at the Rokeby Museum to be intriguing because you can see the history of the family in the way it was built. The older smaller farmhouse is attached to the newer larger house that the Robinsons built after they made money in the wool business. Historical aspects like this can be seen all around the property. The interior of the house is also rich with history, not only because of the items within it, but because of how the tall rooms are, how they are laid out, and designed. 

This internship made me far more interested in the history of my own state and those who lived in it. As someone who enjoys reading about European or ancient history this has been an experience that rekindled my curiosity for local and American history. I recommend a visit to the Rokeby museum if you are interested in learning about Vermont history. I cannot thank the people here at Rokeby enough for giving me this opportunity to expand my knowledge and skillset. I truly enjoyed my internship at Rokeby Museum, as it has been an experience I will never forget.