Deidra Turner, a senior majoring in political science, was able to turn her love of history into college credit while interning at the Brinton 1704 House.
“I love history – like a lot,” Turner said, “I was fortunate enough to intern at a museum.” And this museum is nothing short of history. In fact, even the building itself is historic.
The Brinton 1704 House is a house museum located in Delaware County near West Chester, PA. It was built in 1704 by William Brinton, Jr., the son of Quakers who moved to the colony of Pennsylvania to escape religious persecution in England.
It is unique because it is one of the oldest and best restored houses in the United States. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968.
During her internship, Turner was responsible for researching the Brinton Family genealogy, giving tours of the museum, and creating the new exhibit, “Not Just A House, A Home,” that features the Brinton family as well as the house.
Gathering information for the exhibit required extensive research on the history of the house and surrounding land. The Brinton 1704 House was one of 14 houses standing in the battlefield area of the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777 during the Revolutionary War.
In 1860, the house was sold out of the Brinton family, and in 1881, a stone addition was built onto the home. The house was bought back by Brinton descendants in 1947 and donated to the West Chester Historical Society. In the 1950s the house was restored to its original structure and the wing was removed. It went through another restoration in 2017 as it needed some structural repairs.
The exhibit has three focuses: who lived in the house, how they lived in the 1700’s, and detailed information about the house itself.
Turner’s work contributed to the information that will be on display about the family – William Brinton, Jr., wife Jane, and their six children as well as their lifestyle. The exhibit will display an archeological section that features artifacts from a 1990s dig that include pots, pans, and other pottery as well as articles of trash such as bones and oyster shells that had been thrown away in a nearby well.
The exhibit will also feature a 3D model of the house and how it looked at different time periods as well as pictures of the house before and after the 2017 restoration.
The exhibit opens in May and runs through the summer.
This internship has opened a path to a possible career for Turner. “I fell in love with creating exhibits,” she said, “It’s very interesting to me. You get to do research and learn about something so in depth that you didn’t know before.” After graduation, Turner hopes to find a job in a museum creating exhibits.
Turner is a native of Pittsgrove, NJ, and is one of two females on Neumann’s eSports club, a new club for students interested in competitive video games. She will graduate in December 2019 and hopes to continue her education, eventually enrolling in graduate school for a master’s degree in museum studies.