Olivia Jacinto lives in Dartmouth and is a rising junior at Roger William University. In March she came into the WHALE office looking for some hands on preservation experience and offered to help with anything needed to save a building. Since then, she splits her work between research in the office for capital campaigns and restoring historic windows inside the First Baptist Church. Over 40 volunteers had helped reglaze them earlier this year and now Olivia has joined a small painting team guided by a master craftsman.
Olivia loves her apprentice work of restoring historic windows and can’t wait to find other preservation trades- if you know of more craftsmen looking for apprentices please let us know! We love this community education model. Olivia will continue her work here at WHALE while finishing her bachelor’s degree.
She shared some thoughts on why she chose this field:
“Preservation is about not only protecting the quality and character of the places that matter to a living community, but reimagining them into places that will become part of the history of future generations to come. It is an ever lasting process of connecting people to the culture and fabric of the neighborhoods in which they live and grow.
My passion for preservation dates back to early childhood. Growing up at my grandmother’s, I was always fascinated by how her house served not only as shelter for the various friends and family she welcomed, but as a witness and active participant to all the happenings of the people that gathered within it’s walls. On the rare occasions that all was still, I’d explore the rooms and listen to the house breathe. Observing every trinket and piece of furniture, I wondered if all items are mere things until someone gives it purpose; the sentimental, functional, or aesthetic value of an object varying significantly based on perspective. Soon an interest in how to restore these objects formed and I began experimenting with ways to fix, refinish, or repurpose them. Eventually, I would come home after an antiquing adventure and transform an old ship door into a coffee table or find use for car parts in the house, forever amazed by how something can be upcycled for a new purpose yet still hold a story of its past. With a creative passion and love for history, I plan to direct my education in Historic Preservation into the field of object conservation and restoration in order to bring new life to the objects that hold true value to the buildings in which we save and preserve.”
Olivia is well on her way and we are so, so glad that she has chosen WHALE as a starting point.