WVU Intern Works on textiles at Cockayne Farmhouse


Jillian Dawn Barto

     Glen Dale Native Jillian Dawn Barto is working as a WVU intern at the Cockayne Farmstead this summer. A graduate of John Marshall High School and with a B.A. in History from WVU, Jill is currently a WVU grad student in cultural resources management, concentrating on museum studies.

     Tom Tarowsky, the project's program director, has worked with West Virginia University to develop ways for the resource and the college to benefit from a collaboration. Jill learned about an intern opportunity through contact with Dr. Barbara Rasmussen in the History Department at WVU. Her internship is under the guidance of her supervisor at WVU, Dr. Larry Sybolt.

     In establishing the internship, the question was asked: What within the farmhouse is in the most need of immediate attention? Three answers came immediately to mind - the artwork, the textiles and the written documents. At present, care of the documents is being addressed as they are being scanned and many placed in archival sleeves. That scanning work is performed by a volunteer and the scans thus far number over 6,000 items.

     So it was between the artwork and textiles. It was decided the textiles should be addressed. In taking on this internship, Jill has researched techniques on how to handle, clean, store and research antique textiles and she has created a manual on those techniques for future use in the Cockayne Farmhouse. She is currently working on cleaning the various clothing items and properly storing them. Finally, she has researched some of the clothing to learn where they were produced, who wore them, and for what purposes they were worn. She created a display of clothing, purses, shoes and hats for the recent West Virginia Tour Day on June 20 and told visitors about the clothing's history.

     Ironically, as a senior at John Marshall High School, Jill's art class toured the Cockayne Farmhouse, but she missed the announcement and was disappointed to learn she missed the tour. But she has far made up for that earlier disappointment with her hands-on work at the farmhouse this summer.