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Spinning Heads: Is Mary Poppins Alive?

Posted on May 17, 2016 by in The OFI Blog

2015 Winter Intern Marilyn Bradford enjoying her first ride on the National Mall carousel

2015 Winter Intern Marilyn Bradford enjoying her first ride on the National Mall carousel

“Every time I rode carousels as a child, the music and movement transported me; I wasn’t Marilyn, I was Mary Poppins…”-Intern Marilyn Bradford, May 2, 2016

Recent UC Berkeley graduate Marilyn Bradford has just finished her groundbreaking internship with the National Museum of American History (NMAH) Culture and Arts Department.  While Bradford was thoroughly immersed in the city’s culture, it was the Smithsonian’s carousel (located in the National Mall) that really got her head spinning.

At the Smithsonian, interns are allowed one free ride a day on the carousel.  Upon starting her internship, Bradford scuffed at the idea, seeing it as a “child ride.”  However, by the end of her internship experience Bradford was not only taking rides down the carousel, but memory lane as well.

You see, it wasn’t just the unique structure of the carousel that interested Bradford.  It was the priceless childhood memories she was reminded of, which opened her eyes to so much more.  Being an intern for the Culture & Arts Department gave her a deeper appreciation for artifacts and their history.  Bradford was so fascinated by how the carousel came to be, it got her thinking of other existing trinkets as well.

“I learned merry-go-rounds have a rich history that stretches back centuries, rekindling my childhood love for them in the process,” says Bradford.

One of the many special made carousel animals

One of the many special made carousel animals

Bradford was so intrigued, she decided to write an article explaining her experience through this internship and the changed perspective it offered her.  Want to hear more?  Check out Marilyn’s recent article, “Life’s just a merry-go-round” on the NMAH “O Say Can You See?” blog!