Tarleton professor addresses living history interpreters

Tarleton State University professor Dr. T. Lindsay Baker gives the keynote address at a Texas Living History Association event in Dallas. Baker dressed in the attire of an 1874 Kansas buffalo skinner for his presentation.

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STEPHENVILLE (February 5, 2015) — Tarleton State University Professor Dr. T. Lindsay Baker gave the keynote address on Saturday, Jan. 24, to the Texas Living History Association in Dallas.

The organization consists of professional staff members and volunteers at museums, parks and open-air sites where people interpret the past for others by reenacting historical events or by recreating former living conditions.

Among the places where the public views living history interpretation are historic farmsteads, battlefields, factories and ships. Historical interpreters typically dress in reproduction historic clothing and engage in activities drawn from the past. Interpreters may speak in historic dialects in order to convey a sense of the past to their audiences.

Baker, associate professor of history at Tarleton and director of the university’s W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas, spoke on “Why This College Professor Loves Living History.” In the presentation, Baker explained how his own experiences as a living-history interpreter at museums and parks and in residing in a sod house/half dugout had enhanced his understanding of the American past.

For the presentation, he dressed in the attire of an 1874 Kansas buffalo skinner, a character the professor has portrayed frequently for groups across the United States. Baker holds the W.K. Gordon Endowed Chair in Texas History at Tarleton.

The Texas Living History Association was founded three years ago, and the 2015 meeting in Dallas attracted approximately 100 attendees from Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas. Some were long-time living-history interpreters, while others had recently entered the field. The three-day gathering offered daylong workshops, papers, hands-on instruction and plenary sessions.

For information, see www.texasliviknghistoryassociation.org or contact Dr. T. Lindsay Baker at 254-968-1886.

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