Staff Spotlight – Erin Adams
Every month, we introduce one of our amazing staff members and give more insight on what it’s like to work at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage! This month, we are spotlighting Erin Adams, our Director of Education.
- How long have you worked for The Hermitage?
- 8.5 years (I feel like a kid insisting on the half year, but some months are longer than others 😊)
- What is your title?
- Director of Education.
- Describe what you do in a few sentences.
- I advocate for the visitor as both a tourist and a learner. Our team of educators and guest services staff facilitate learning opportunities by recognizing and providing for the visitor’s needs for orientation to The Hermitage property, information about the broad scope of Jacksonian America, and inspiration to apply the lessons of this era to their own lives and communities. We use every tool from craft projects to youth leadership training to accessibility services.
- How did you come to work at The Hermitage?
- In 2013, I was working as the executive director of a small historic site in Northern Virginia when my dad’s health began to deteriorate. As I was looking to move closer to family, the Director of Public Programs & Volunteers position had just opened at The Hermitage. I was hired by our late, great Curator, Marsha Mullin. Eventually I decided education, site interpretation and guest services were a better fit for my skills and goals.
- What is your favorite thing about working at The Hermitage?
- I really have to share three favorite things: First, the landscape, buildings, and artifacts are a feast for the senses and the spirit. Things here even taste good! (I highly recommend Natchez Hills Winery’s Born for a Storm red and Bailey & Cato’s cheeseburger and fries!) Second is working just 178 steps from a topnotch Museum Store that includes a broad range of wonderful books that I’ll never have time to read! But most importantly, I value the opportunity to engage with learners at all levels in what is a deeply personal journey to understanding the past and its relevance for the present and future.
- What is something that has surprised you about working at The Hermitage?
- I knew Andrew Jackson came freighted with a lot of baggage regarding his treatment of Native Americans and his ownership of people. But I have been overwhelmed by the experience of visitors who are grappling with his legacy for the first time. Andrew Jackson, his time, and his contemporaries still have a powerful hold on the nation’s present-day realities. Sometimes those realities inspire us to great things and sometimes those realities cause us to question everything we think we understand about our nation. It matters deeply to visitors that we go with them as partners in this journey. I’m surprised to feel so deeply honored by that partnership.