With more than a decade’s worth of experience in the historical conservation field, Shippensburg University alumna Ashley Maready shared her journey during a lecture in the Dauphin Humanities Center on Sept. 11.
Maready’s career transported her across the country, including states she had never visited before. Along with each new location came a handful of unique challenges and opportunities. Her presentation, “Soldiers, Salt, and a Mule Called Sal: A Museum Curator’s Life,” touched on the highlights of her career so far.
Her journey began when she accepted an internship at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle.
There, she was finally able to focus on honing her skills.
“I learned a lot about what I was getting into,” Maready said.
Since then, she has worked for a variety of museums in several different states including Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kansas and New York.
Ashley currently works as the curator of collections and Exhibitions at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, New York. The state is in the middle of celebrating the canal’s 200th anniversary; the celebration began in 2017 and will continue through 2025. Although the celebration period may seem odd, it is meant to symbolize the time it took to construct the Erie Canal. Since its creation, the canal has played an important part in the lives of those who surround it.
The 1905 song “Low Bridge, Everybody Down,” also known as “The Erie Canal Song,” gives listeners a glimpse into what life was like during that time.
“I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal, fifteen years on the Erie Canal. She’s a good old worker and a good old pal, fifteen years on the Erie Canal,” the lyrics state.
The building itself holds a historical purpose as it is the only remaining Weighlock building in the United States. The Erie Canal Museum also strives to inform attendees about the museum’s historical importance by displaying its preserved materials and creating a deeper appreciation for the canal.
The event was sponsored by the history/philosophy department with support from the College of Arts and Sciences.