Allison Zhu, a senior at Council Rock North High School, has spent the summer assisting with a new virtual education program for Washington Crossing Historic Park as part of an internship sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Washington Crossing-Yardley.
Her new program centers on camp followers: the women and children who traveled to encampments and worked for the Continental and British armies in numerous roles, including cooking, cleaning, and providing medical care.
Allison chose the topic of camp followers after reading extensively about the American Revolution on her own. She noticed that “many of these books didn’t mention or barely mentioned the women and children who followed the army, suffered alongside it and enabled it to fight.”
In collaboration with Katherine Becnel, volunteer coordinator for the Friends of Washington Crossing Park, Allison used articles recommended by the park staff to research the daily lives of camp followers.
Once completed, the new educational program will be made publicly available on Washington Crossing Historic Park’s website. It will include short videos, stories about camp followers, and an activity packet – all of which Allison helped produce.
These resources are for historians of all ages, but there will be activities like a choose-your-own-adventure game that are geared towards younger audiences.
A long-time Washington Crossing Historic Park visitor, Allison says she and her father used to attend crossing reenactments when she was younger. The Revolutionary era has since become her favorite period of history, and she views this internship as “a great opportunity” to “work with something I love.” The remote internship experience has taught Allison the importance of communicating historical information in new and engaging ways.
As for the future, Allison is keeping her options open but has enjoyed learning what it’s like to work at a historic site.
Learn more about the Kiwanis Club of Washington Crossing-Yardley.