The Power of "Yes"
By Casey Duckett, Assistant Director
Coggeshall Farm Museum
It is the first evening of the new year. I am exhausted, my body hurts all over, and I couldn't be happier.
In my first year at Coggeshall Farm Museum, I have had the pleasure of pushing myself to produce the best results possible, outside of my comfort zones, as a living history professional. I have had to be a better carpenter, blacksmith and landscaper than I thought I'd ever need to be. All while using late 18th-century technology.
I have had the opportunity to educate thousands of students from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In this role I've been able to help make new connections for students between their lives and the past. I've taught them how food gets from the ground and from livestock to their plates. I have sparked interest in sustainable agriculture and wilderness preservation. I have impacted and hopefully improved lives.
I have no script per se, beyond the knowledge acquired during my career in living history and the research we have conducted here at Coggeshall on 1790s tenant farming. Every day is full of new challenges and opportunities.
I have been able to work with a talented, passionate and wonderful team of professionals from wildly varied backgrounds, who have all come together out of a love of farming, history and/or education.
I often remind myself that all this has happened because I told a friend I'd help him with a project. I think about how much impact the word, "yes," has had in my life. A positive outlook can open many opportunities, especially when mixed with the willingness to help others.
I am a steward of something very precious. I help tend to a dream that has gone on for more than 40 years. I try every day to leave my work slightly better than it was when I came in, and I hope to preserve a piece of the past that can continue to impact lives for many years to come. It is worth the sore muscles.