Staff Spotlight – Kira Sanscrainte
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 Kira Sancrainte, our Lead Historical Interpreter.
How long have you worked for The Hermitage?
- It will be three years in July. I worked at five different museums before I came here, where most of my experience was in living history.
Describe what you do in a few sentences.
- I orient guests to the mansion experience, manage tours going through the mansion and supervise and train our dedicated team of historical interpreters (tour guides). There is a lot of scheduling and administrative work as well, and I do the upkeep for the period clothing worn by staff. I also conduct mansion tours and specialty walking tours, when I get a chance.
What is your favorite thing about working at The Hermitage?
- There is so much history to delve into—whether it is exploring the stories of those who lived here or the ideas of the only American president to have an era named after him. I especially love to share the preservation work of the site with guests. An extraordinary amount of original acreage, buildings, items, letters and receipts were saved, and we have conducted archaeology and other scientific studies. It looks like the Jacksons just stepped out of the mansion for a moment, but the detective work that preserved and restored what is here is as fascinating as the result is impressive.
What is one thing that has surprised you about working here?
- With 1,120 acres of land, it is massive geographically for a historic site and is one of the most visited presidential homes in the country, yet it feels much more personal than you would expect.
What book are you currently reading?
- My current read is actually John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Hero by Gordon T. Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt, about a political rival of Andrew Jackson! I just picked it up on a short trip to Knoxville. It also discusses the challenges in collecting accurate accounts of many of Tennessee pioneers, which makes me thankful that there is so much documented history of Jackson’s life.