One of our foundational missions is to protect, preserve, and enhance resources in the Fort Monroe National Historic Landmark District. Throughout the past year, the FMA planned, designed, reviewed, and coordinated dozens of infrastructure projects.
These undertakings included maintenance and repair of historic properties, infrastructure improvements, and the continuance of a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the Casemate Museum complex. In partnership with the National Park Service, the HSR commenced in 2014. When completed next year, the findings will generate greater understanding about the casemates currently used by the museum, and help address the ongoing structural and aesthetic issues that affect the historic structure.
An exciting phase of the HSR took place throughout the fall, when a team from James River Institute for Archaeology (JRIA) excavated and explored sections of the fort that had not been examined since the fort’s construction almost 200 years ago. Several areas along the ramparts directly above the museum and within the Flagstaff Bastion were examined to learn about the original construction and subsequent modifications to the fortification structure. A series of tours was designed by Casemate Museum and Heritage Assets staff to interpret the dig site for visitors during November and December.
Throughout the past year, volunteer hours increased significantly over previous years, expanding the FMA’s ability to entertain and educate visitors. This was especially true at the Casemate Museum last year as volunteer hours totaled 3,228, up 150%, an increase of 1,936.5 hours over the previous year. Volunteers were also seen in other areas of the property as organized groups dedicating themselves to beach cleaning activities and assisting with the various FMA public programs hosted throughout the year. Other groups, such as sailors from the USS Lincoln, volunteered for projects such as furniture removal from vacant office buildings.
The FMA continued to develop an internship program geared toward collegiate scholars. From May through August 2015, six interns, representing five universities, contributed a total of 542 hours for the FMA. Interning at the Casemate Museum and FMA Administrative Offices, their projects included digital assets management, event photography, graphic design, social media management, collections care, and educational programming. The FMA is thankful for its dedicated corps of volunteers and interns!