Ann Waters, Public Historian for the George Washington Foundation

This post is part of our Guest Picks series, featuring members of our library community sharing their favorite books and movies.

Ann Waters is the Manager of Interpretation and Visitor Services at the George Washington Foundation, opens a new window in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Foundation owns and operates Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home, and Historic Kenmore, the home of George’s sister Betty Washington Lewis. Ann is originally from Richmond, Virginia, and received her B.A. in history from the College of William & Mary.

Ann will be co-hosting the We the Readers Book Group discussion of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, opens a new window on 1/17/2023 at 7:00PM online., opens a new window

I have always been an avid reader, and, in school, my favorite subjects were English and history. My mom was also a high school English teacher, and, as a result, I grew up with an early appreciation for reading. During the summer we would take many trips to our local library, and before every family vacation, I would check out a stack of books to read in the car. As a child, my favorite genres were fantasy and historical fiction. I loved how these stories could transport you to a new place; you could travel through time or visit an entirely new world, all in the pages of a book!  

College first introduced me to the world of museum studies and public history. Historic sites had always interested me, and I was passionate about learning how museums could make history engaging and accessible to the public. As a history major, I did quite a bit of reading and writing, although most of my reading time was consumed by class assignments. It wasn’t until after college that I picked up reading again as a hobby. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I really rediscovered my love of reading. During a time of stress, uncertainty, and isolation, what better way to transport yourself somewhere new than by reading a book? I joined a virtual book club, attended author talks over Zoom, and borrowed books from my library via curbside pick-up. I also gained a new level of appreciation for the public library system. Beyond just providing access to books, I realized how many different essential services the library provides and how it is such an integral part of my local community. 

Today, I still read a lot for work, mostly about George Washington, the American Revolution, and 18th-century Virginia. In my free time, I enjoy branching out to different genres and discovering new authors, and, of course, I can often be found frequenting my local library. 

Here are some of Ann's favorite books:

CRRL Guest Picks: Ann Waters

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