Our Smithsonian: Lawyer by day, seamstress by night

Farleigh Earhart is an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel and she’s been teleworking since Friday, March 13. Although enhanced telework at the Smithsonian didn’t begin until Monday the 16th, Farleigh wanted to get a jump-start since—like many staff—she had never worked exclusively from home. She gathered some files, set up her laptop and made made the transition seamlessly.

Smithsonian staff are still at work, even though the museums are closed to the public, so her workload hasn’t changed much, Farleigh says. Between conference calls, emails and checking in on her teenage daughter (also at work on her computer in another room), Farleigh reviews agreements, special events contracts, offers guidance on legal matters related to time and attendance, and advises on security issues raised by distance-learning and other online projects.

Farleigh Earhart in colorful homemade mask

Farleigh Earhart is dressed for success while teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Selfie courtesy Farleigh Earhart)

Once her workday is done, the attorney turns to more domestic pursuits. Farleigh has been sewing since she was a teenager, making clothes, curtains and  useful household objects. Farleigh and her daughter, who shares her interest in sewing, have turned their practical hobby into a life-saving gift.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Farleigh has been sewing face masks for elderly friends and family. She has sent her masks through the mail, left them on doorsteps and continues to create the masks.

While she is busy at home, Farleigh says she misses her colleagues and looks forward to being back in the office.

Linda St.Thomas is the chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian’s Office of Public Affairs.

Posted: 7 May 2020
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