Meet Darcy Trumpler

-Describe your position here at. What is your title? What are your responsibilities?

I was a summer intern during the summer of 2004, which was the time between my junior and senior year of high school at Upper Merion. As an intern I was working three days a week during the summer and on Saturdays during the school year in the burial ground. In the burial ground we did not have formal tours throughout the area, so what the other guides and I would do is wander throughout different sections, approaching tourists and guests and asking if they had any questions about the graveyard, the church, the history of Philadelphia, and sometimes leading them around if they asked us to. Even though i was a student and not a college history major, I worked the exact same position as the paid guides. They trusted me with the same responsibilities, which at first was terrifying but by the end of the summer was an absolute thrill!

-What is your educational/career background?

At the time, I was your typical high school student. I took classes at UM during the day, coached baton twirling in the afternoons, and had done nothing historically minded, although it was definitely my favorite class at UM. Since then I have gone on to study french literature and history in college.

-What bought you to this particular landmark?

My junior year of high school was the year that I was going through confirmation in my church. One weekend, a few friends and I went on a tour with the bishop of the Episcopal history of Philadelphia. During the tour, we stopped and had lunch with the guides of Christ Church, and then had a tour of the church and the burial ground. I asked tons of questions during the lunch (yes, I was that girl on the tour), and as the head of the tour guide division left us off at the burial ground, he pulled me aside and asked if I was interested in volunteering over the summer. It didn’t take much for me to say yes, and I started working on Saturdays just a few weeks later.

-Is this a volunteer or paid position?

The Christ Church Preservation Trust does hire guides, but I was an unpaid volunteer. The church is always looking for volunteers and I feel so lucky to have had the experience!

-What do you enjoy most about your job here at_?

Every five minutes of every day, I got to meet new people, share what I know, and have amazing conversations where I also had the opportunity to learn from our guests. My co-workers were also fantastic and very diverse. We never had the same conversation twice, and laughed throughout each day. I learned so much that summer, not only about history and about our amazing city, and about life in cities across the country and throughout the world (although we talked a lot about burial practices, it was interesting and opened my eyes to cultural differences and historical changes!)

-Who administers this landmark? Where does it get its funding?

The Christ Church Preservation Trust is run by Donald Smith and the Senior Guide and Historian is Neil Ronk. The Graveyard itself is run by John Hopkins. The Trust is run based on donations from the visitors.

-What are the goals of?

My goals when working there was to discuss the history, but also to engage our visitors in the city around them. Some days, it was about helping a child get over their fear of walking in a graveyard (I developed a few games to do this, and really enjoyed working with the kids), while other days we would meet people who wanted to know everything about the history that we could tell them. Every day personally had a slightly different goal, but overall it was to teach people a bit more about our amazing founding fathers and the church where they worshipped.

-What are the numbers of yearly visitors? Are numbers up or down?

When I was there, the numbers varied. On a slow day we would have about 200 visitors, and other days had more than twice that. In the years since I worked there, the numbers have continued to rise, which makes me so happy!

-Describe programs/exhibits currently designed to attract visitors or to revitalize your landmark?

Right now, we have guides poised to lead visitors through the church and burial ground. The theme being used in the Ground this summer is the history of Artists and Musicians in Philadelphia's history. The Trust is embarking on setting up a museum, and expanding the historical tour experience

-What are some of the yearly events held at_?

Ben Franklin's birthday is always a special day at Christ Church. Although some years it’s more of a day celebrated by the guides, its definitely a day when we are all more energized and excited!

-How involved were you in creating or executing this program/exhibit?

My purpose at Christ Church was to work with the visitors, and I was not very involved in the creative process. All of the guides put a personal spin on their talks, so everyone got a special/personalized experience.

-Are you working on any grants, new programs or exhibits?

I was not involved in this when I worked there, however I assure you that a lot of new and exciting things are happening at Christ Church.

-How do you acquire new artifacts? Is there money allocated for the purchase of additional artifacts?

Most artifacts are in place in the church, and are sometimes found in storage when not expected! Right after I left for my freshmen year of college, I saw in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the city of Philadelphia was upgrading the path towards Ben Franklin's grave and when pulling up the old brick, discovered tablet markers that had sunk into the ground below it. Although the path was replaced over the markers, they were able to put in plaques that acknowledged their existence.

-How do you "get the word out" or advertise about your landmark?

Luckily, our location does a lot of the advertisement for us! The graveyard is located right in the center of historical Philadelphia, sharing a corner with the mint and the Constitution Center. The church is closer to the waterfront, and we get many people coming in to inquire about it!

-What role does interpretation play here at _?

Because we try to get to know our visitors, we try to show them the history that relates to their interests. Our guides are so knowledgeable that they can show incredibly diverse themes in the graveyard.

-Are the majority of the employees paid or voluntary?

During the year, most are paid, but summer interns are always wanted!

-How do you attract new volunteers?

Personally, I was attracted through the Episcopal church, but volunteers are also attracted through the parish and personal contacts with the guides.

-Describe any internships available through_?

The best way to approach an opportunity at Christ Church is to visit, ask tons of questions, and show interest!

-How can internships help young people with their future career endeavors?

I was very shy at the beginning of my time at Christ Church. I'll never forget the first day when my boss told me to approach a couple and ask them if they had any questions. I didn’t feel prepared because being my first day I didn’t know anything! But I approached them, tried to answer their questions, admitted I didn’t know the answer and then listened with them as my boss gave their answers. Over the summer, I became much more extraverted and now can approach people both personally and professionally.

I also had a growing interest in history, and when leaving my internship fully intended on majoring in history in college.

-Are you currently working with any school or district?

I just graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. I am currently looking for elementary teaching jobs and hope to use my experience at Christ Church as lessons for my classes!

-Describe how technology is currently being utilized by_?

Honestly, there isn’t much technology in the graveyard! The year I was there we were lucky enough to get a cell phone so we could contact the church without running 4-5 blocks!

-Do you have a website? What is it used for?

There is a website for Christ Church, both for the religious parish and for the historical landmark. The site offers an overview of the history for people interested in a visit, and then we can offer much more in person!

-Do you partner with any other landmarks/foundations?
Which ones? Why?

We generally remain solitary, however all of the guides know the basic history of other landmarks and can help tourists with their understanding of the city.

-What role do you think public history plays in American Culture?

Our public history is an insight into the personal history of those who formed our country. Christ Church contains the history of many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. We often invite visitors to sit in the family pew of the signers in the church and see the importance of their chosen grave markers as well.

-Why should be preserved for future generations?

Christ Church is a living thing. It was a functioning church during the founding of the country and continues to live and thrive today. The church can mark changes in culture and society as well as religious practices. By keeping the church open, not only can people continue to find a religious center, but also to grow in historical understanding.

-Why do you think public history/preservation should be better funded and emphasized in our society?

I have always believed that the more society knows about the successes and failures in history, the better prepared we are for the future. Also, historical understanding helps us understand the world around as and grow as people within our local societies and the world society. In this economy, funding is difficult, without a doubt, but as long as the importance is maintained, and the understanding is shared, everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow and develop as a person.

Christ Church