Summer Intern Profile: Eliza Browning

Published in People in Preservation.

PPS is excited to have a robust cohort of summer interns assisting us with a wide variety of historic preservation projects! We’ll be profiling each of our interns as the summer progresses. First up is Eliza Browning!

Where are you from and what are you studying?

I’m originally from Tolland, Connecticut and am studying English and art history at Wheaton College in Massachusetts!

What made you reach out to PPS about an internship?

Since high school, I’ve worked with local historical societies and history museums in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which made me passionate about the history of early New England. My art history major has also made me interested in architecture and historical preservation. During the fall semester of my junior year, I worked on a research project about the removal of Christopher Columbus statues from city centers following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. My professor, Tripp Evans, is a member of PPS and suggested I reach out for further information about the history of Providence’s Columbus statue. I was fascinated by PPS’s mission and excited to bridge my interests in art and architecture with early New England history through this internship!

You are currently working on transcribing property records for historic Providence properties. How do you think this project will help us understand the history of the city better?

I hope this project helps to make history more accessible to the general public and helps local residents learn more about the history of their city. I think that education definitely makes people more enthusiastic about historical preservation, and this project will enable them to learn more about the history of their homes. I grew up in an eighteenth-century farmhouse my parents restored and my mom kept a detailed scrapbook about the house’s past owners, the history of the neighborhood and objects she found in our home, which was part of what interested me in historical preservation. History is all around us and it’s important to embrace the importance of the everyday. The records are also a fascinating glimpse into how the demographics of Providence have shifted with the times.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Interning for PPS has been so exciting and inspiring in many ways! For my spring photography class, I created an interdisciplinary art project combining historical property information I researched for PPS with the photographs of a young artist who attended RISD in the 1970s.

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