Alice Dillon '18
Working with the Bullard photographs has been an incredibly valuable experience. I plan to work in a museum setting in the future, so conducting research on these photographs and working so closely with the Worcester Art Museum has been amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed researching both of my photographs, and I am now very attached to them both. I also have a deep connection to the rest of the collection after seeing my classmates conduct such extensive research. Everyone's hard work really made the people in the photographs come alive, and I will miss my research and hearing updates on everyone else's findings.
The best part of this project was the breakthrough I had when researching the photograph of a group of firemen. After reading in Charles Nutt's History of Worcester and Its People that one of the early fire associations in Worcester's history was the Worcester Veteran Firemen Association (WVFA) I took another look at the photograph. I thought I could make out the letters V and A on the helmet in the photograph, but I wasn't able to zoom in close enough to be sure. Thankfully, the Worcester Art Museum sent me a scan of the actual glass negative for the photograph that I could zoom in on. Using this new scan, I identified that the helmet had the word ‘veteran' on it. Then, thanks to Robyn Conroy at the Worcester Historical Museum, I matched the helmet and uniform of a few men in Bullard's photograph to a photograph confirmed to be of the WVFA. I was ecstatic. The Worcester Historical Museum also had countless other valuable resources that helped my research, especially the pocket-sized Constitution, Rules of Order, and Order of Business of the WVFA. This tiny pamphlet contains explicit explanations of the group's leadership positions, purpose, and membership requirements. Without this pamphlet and the other sources at the museum, we would not know about the WFVA members in Bullard's photograph. I am truly thankful for the resources I had access to and for my involvement in the project.