Youthful volunteers at Historic Hudson Valley

Published:

Tuesday, 9/14/2010 11:00pm

Taking a respite from iPods and cell phones, three students spent some of their time off this summer volunteering at Historic Hudson Valley’s living history museums, helping out with everything from interpreting to blacksmithing.

At Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, 17-year-old Michael Rosenberg from Irvington interprets the job of grist mill assistant. Ten months out of the year Michael goes to Irvington High School where he took AP American History and plays in the percussion section of the school's marching band. What’s his favorite part of the job? "Coming to the site in the early morning and looking out at the Pocantico River... it's so peaceful," he said. Michael was leading his own tours of Philipsburg Manor's upper mill every half hour, teaching visitors about the milling and trading that took place on the property in the 18th century.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Zachary Sandground from Yorktown helps out on Philipsburg Manor’s farm. Zachary comes from a long line of interpreters at Philipsburg Manor and started this summer after ageing out of Historic Hudson Valley’s summer history camps. When asked his favorite part of the job, Zach said, "I’m never sitting down. I'm always active and talking to people; I really enjoy it all! Even the period clothing is not that bad!" Zach spends the majority of his time in the barn demonstrating many of the agricultural tasks of the 18th-century farm worker.

Philipsburg Manor isn't the only site with local youth in its blood. At Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, young volunteer Tyler Trapp from Ossining takes the role of apprentice at the living history museum's blacksmith shop and brick-making yard. Sometimes he even brings friends! (Shown above.) Under the supervision of the master blacksmith and brick-makers, the apprentices not only learn the site’s history and proper traditional blacksmithing techniques, but also double as interpreters that educate museum visitors about life along the Croton River in the 18th century.

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