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2010 ALHFAM Annual Meeting and Conference SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:

Western Region on Facebook!

Celebrating 40 Years of ALHFAM

Western Regional Meeting

The Harvest of the “Roots and Branches of Living History – ALHFAM 2010 Annual Meeting and Conference”

including a myth-busting session which threw water on the

By Kristin Keller, Western Region The Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums annual meeting and conference returned to Old Sturbridge Village this year, celebrating 40 years with a theme recognizing the “Roots and Branches of Living History.” As a first-timer to the annual conference (and a relative newcomer to ALHFAM) I appreciated the conference theme‟s tendency towards reflection on its past, while anticipating the branches and new growth to come. The programming of this year‟s conference truly reflected the variety of subjects encompassed by the world of living history, farms, and agricultural museums. I chose mostly to follow a track of costuming programming, starting with a preconference visit to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. Our behind the scenes tour of their library and collections included a glimpse of a jaw-dropping collection of fabric sample books. Later in the conference I attended several other costume related sessions

Kristin Keller and Tory Laitila at Annual Meeting and Conference

supposed prevalence of 19th century women catching fire while cooking. Though programming on hat-making, mourning dress, and silhouettes through the ages caught my attention, every time-slot offered a plethora of different subjects from first-person interpretation, to collections care, and poster sessions with even more topics of discussion. A number of first time-attendees, like me, expressed their appreciation for the variety of quality programming choices in both the workshops and sessions. The variety of offerings was also reflected in the site visits. The first trip was a whirlwind tour through no less than three

different states. The sites visited included Lowell National Historical Park and Strawbery Banke – with a delicious Maine clambake thrown in for good measure! The second day of site visits included a full day to explore Old Sturbridge Village, where one had the option to see the sights by boat, stagecoach, and of course by foot. Both Strawbery Banke and Old Sturbridge Village provided additional tours within their sites. On the tour through Strawbery Banke‟s new collections facility, I was thrilled to see a needlework sampler fashioned from George Washington‟s hair; and I would have never believed that the small building housing the living history costume collection at Old Sturbridge Village could be quite so full (or well organized) without the thorough tour we were given. Prior to attending the conference I was purely excited by the breadth and quality of the programming available. As a first -timer I didn‟t realized how well this would be complemented by AHLFAM‟s sense of fun. The meaning and feeling of “AHLFAMily” was fostered through learning, dining and, yes, even dancing together. This shared experience is like water for the Roots and Branches of the Living History. It revitalizes the spirit, which was perhaps the most valuable take-away from the conference experience.



Western Region on Facebook Thanks to the efforts of Zaira Valdovinos, the Western Region has a page on Facebook. The address is: alhfamwesternregion/ You can also look it up as Western Region of ALHFAM. The MountainPlains Region has a page as well.

Salem, Massachusetts

“Her research brought to the forefront how something so simple as a quilt could lead to a deeper look into the history of a region of the country, a religion, and the lives of those brought together because of it.”

Don‟t forget to interact with the different ALHFAM pages by „liking‟ or „sharing‟ items posted on the walls. This will increase ALHFAM‟s visibility on Facebook.

Also become a “friend” on the ALHFAM page. Lots of good photos from the meeting in Worcester.

Celebrating 40 Years of ALHFAM Celebrating 40 Years of ALHFAM: A Review of the 2010 National Conference Hosted by Old Sturbridge Village By Jessica Maria AliceaCovarrubias, Director, Administration and Operations, Heritage Square Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

It is hard to believe that forty years ago ALHFAM was created out of a meeting attended by 23 museum professionals at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV). Getting back to the organizations roots at OSV, hearing the

Professor Laurel Ulrich


Please become a “friend” and get postings of what is going on in the region. This will not replace the newsletter, but is a method of communication that gives access to members quickly, provided they are on Facebook.



story of how it began from Ron Kley, and seeing how much ALHFAM has changed and grown since are only a few wonderful tidbits of this very special anniversary year. On my way to Worcester State College from Boston‟s Logan International Airport on Sunday, I learned from my shuttle driver that the college was nestled in what use to be a heavily populated Jewish community. Approximately an hour out of Boston, Worcester had a remarkable amount of architecture from all periods and use to be a very industrial town, with several mills dotting the skyline. I also learned that the correct pronunciation for Worcester is “woo stur”, something I

would have never guessed. (The shuttle driver was also pleased to know that I was not an LA Lakers fan considering the Boston Celtic lost the NBA title to them just a few days before the conference began.) Unfortunately, I missed all of the workshops scheduled for that day since I arrived late. Still, I only heard rave reviews for those planned workshops, especially the visit to the American Textile Museum which from what I was told, had an incredible collection of textiles that all who went “drooled” over. Monday began with a wonderful key note address by Professor Laurel Ulrich regarding her research into the history of a quilt and the remarkable group of women in Utah who made it. She

spoke of the history of the quilt itself, (including being cut into two pieces and how each piece was found), the symbolism incorporated along with the variety of plants on parts of each quilt panel, and the explanation of who some of the women were. Her research brought to the forefront how something so simple as a quilt could lead to a deeper look into the history of a region of the country, a religion, and the lives of those brought together because of it. Honestly, Professor Ulrich‟s keynote was one of the best I have heard in my 11 years with ALHFAM. Furthermore, this year‟s sessions, on both Monday and Wednesday, offered a variety of essential topics and content that anyone from an administrator to a volunteer could learn from and appreciate. The amount of talent and knowledge shared during and after the sessions reaffirmed for me why ALHFAM conferences are worth the expense. The auction on Monday night was entertaining as always, highlighted by an ear -stand by Blake Hayes, Lynne Belluscio auctioning off parts of an orange flavored Jell-O shot brain and a dollar match from auction proceeds from Associated Foundations, Inc.

The conference site visits, as always, took us to some superb places and the attendees traversed through three different states in a matter of 12 hours on the first site day. On Tuesday, we left for Lowell National Historic Boot Cotton Mill Park located in Lowell, MA. Focusing on how the industrial revolution impacted this town, the visit included several historic spots where conference attendees could see the innerworkings of the intricate canal system and how the large immigrant workforce made Lowell into the city it is today. For me, feeling the immense power of the working machines inside the Boott Cotton Mill and Museum underneath my feet from the second floor history gallery (located above the mill room) reminded me of a minor earthquake in Southern California, which instinctually prompted me to keep looking for the exit. After a trolley ride back to the drop-off location, conference attendees returned to the buses and headed to York, Maine for our clambake and lobster feast at Foster‟s Clambake. I had some of the best clam chowder ever during this trip, here at Foster‟s and also in Worcester at the Sole Proprietor, (I have to thank Tom Kelleher for this recommendation). ALHFAM‟ers had fun listening to the owner of Foster‟s croon to us over his synthesizer throughout lunch. After the chowder there were individual-sized buckets of steamed clams and mussels to enjoy, (well, I tried to enjoy mine) and then came the lobster, with red potatoes and corn on the cob for sides, and

PAGE 3 finally a blueberry crumb cake for dessert. Of course, many of us visited the gift shop before leaving and I saw a few ALHFAM‟ers wearing a lobster hat or two afterward. Finally, it was back on the buses to travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to visit Strawberry Banke. A site where buildings were saved from “poorly conceived urban renewal policies of the 1950s”, the village had plenty to offer for ALHFAM‟ers. From the restoration plans for some Old Sturbridge Village of the untouched buildings, to the wide range of periods represented (1700s to 1950s), “They were the child‟s garden and Victorian hot house by the Goodwin excellent Mansion, to the superb historic examples of how interpreters, what we encountered at Strawberry 1st person Banke was impressive. Two of the interpreters stood out to interpretation many – the elderly lady sewing should be done.” in front of the 1940s corner store and the young Russian-Jewish immigrant in the kitchen of the Shapiro House. They were excellent examples of how 1st person interpretation should be done. I was also particularly fond of the 1940s Victory Garden, and the WWII displays inside the Strawberry Banke garage behind the 1940s Corner Store in the MardenAbbot House. I later learned that the curator responsible for the interior for the 1940s store carefully researched each products‟ label to make sure it was period appropriate. Another fun aspect was the ShapleyDrisco House whose interior was split into two contrasting time periods, 1950s on one side and 1790s on the other. How things have changed.

Union Railroad Station

Wednesday evening, for the President‟s Banquet, we traveled to the historic Union Railroad Station in Worcester. Still active, the station‟s exterior and interior were breathtaking-marble floors, columns, arches, pediments and other classic Roman architectural features, stain glass ceiling panels, and the Cotton Club Restaurant at one end. Seeing so many of the ALHFAMily dressed in period attire for the banquet, board member Deborah Arenz and I along with a few colleagues sitting at our table decided to approach President Chuck LeCount about having an impromptu fashion show, which he thankfully agreed to let us do. Deborah was the moderator for the show, and nearly everyone in costume participated. After the fashion show and the buffet dinner, Chuck spoke to the members about the organization and its future, and then presented Lynne Belluscio with the Schlebecker Award for her many years of service to ALHFAM. Our last day was spent at Old Sturbridge Village. Back to our roots, the group sat inside the meeting house, and were addressed by the OSV‟s President and CEO, Jim Donahue, and listened to Ron Kley speak about how ALHFAM began. By the end of Ron‟s recollections, he was, along with a few others, emotional about how far the organization had come and how much it could still contribute to the future. Attendees were then asked to sign the ALHFAM banner before they left the building to explore OSV. On the hottest day of the conference week, attendees still found ways to enjoy seeing costumed performances, exhibits, living history interpreters, open hearth cooking demonstrations, a Punch and Judy puppet show, magicians, stage coach and river boat rides, making crafts, and more throughout the afternoon. In the evening, attendees had a final dinner feast inside the Oliver Wight Tavern. Being something of a Food Channel junkie, I really enjoyed this final conference meal. We were first served a baby green salad with goat cheese and walnuts. Dinner consisted of herb roasted chicken breast with lightly sautéed green beans and was followed by a chardonnay ice cream with balsamic drizzle and pepper, and a dollop of whip cream. Yes, the combination sounds a bit peculiar. Yet the flavors surprisingly complimented each other, and after a long hot day, I Old Sturbridge Village enjoyed this cool refreshment. The delicious dinner was followed by a few closing comments by Tom Kelleher, a round of applause by attendees for the conference organizers and OSV staff, and then lively contra dancing and music until about 10 p.m.

Old Sturbridge Village

For mostly economical reasons, I had not attended a national conference since Santa Fe‟s three years ago, therefore I made a point going to OSV this year, not only just to continue my living history education and apply those new skills to my own museum‟s programs, but to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ALHFAM whose members have made a difference in the museum field and in what it means to tell, to share, history with the public. Furthermore, I had the privilege to meet several of the new and young members who have joined ALHFAM in the last few years. The presence of these fresh, skilled and intelligent museum professionals at the conference was exciting and rewarding to see. They are willing and committed to what ALHFAM is, and applying themselves to be more involved in the organization‟s future. As Mick said to me recently, “It is good to know that the legacy is being passed on.” Indeed it is.

Nomenclature 3.0 Online Community For all you curator types. AASLH‟s Nomenclature Committee is pleased to announce the launch of Nomenclature 3.0 Online Community a free service for all users and potential users of Nomenclature! Nomenclature 3.0 is a critical tool for museum professionals and we developed ...this online community to promote and assist ...with the use of the third edition of Nomenclature. You don‟t need to be an AASLH member to use the site; simply go to and explore! AASLH Launches Nomenclature 3.0 Online Community



Western Region Meeting ~ November 4th to 6th “Stepping into the Future… Connecting with the Past!”

Fort Nisqually Travel to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and Washington state for the region’s annual conference at Fort Nisqually in Tacoma, Washington. Founded in 1833 as the earliest nonnative establishment on

Puget Sound, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of a Hudson's Bay Company outpost on the Puget Sound where visitors can journey back in time to the mid-nineteenth century. The site includes two original buildings – the Factor’s House built in 1855, and the Granary built in 1850. The

conference will include a visit to the fort’s “Arts of the Fur Trade” living history event where the fort’s re-enactors will showcase the arts that were once a part of daily survival in the 1800s. Visits to other local museums and attractions will be offered as well.

Schedule of Events Thursday, Nov. 4th – • Pre-conference day trip to Seattle for attendees who arrive on Wednesday. (More info. will be sent about this) • 6-8 pm – Opening reception meet & greet at Shiloh Inn hotel (Appetizers. Cash Bar.) Friday, Nov. 5th – • Breakfast is on your own. (The Shiloh Inn has a complimentary Continental Breakfast available.)

Saturday, Nov. 6th –

• 8:30 – Board vans to Fort Nisqually.

• 8:30 - Board vans to Point Defiance Lodge.

• 9:00 – Welcoming address in Great Room at Fort Nisqually followed by time to look around & socialize.

• 9:00 – 10:00 – 1st workshop sessions

Keynote speaker – Melissa McGinnis • 10:30 – Attendees board vans for site visit to Gig Harbor “Harbor History Museum” & Steilacoom • 12:15 – 12:30 –Western Region ALHFAM Business Meeting at museum

• 10:15- 11:15 – 2nd workshop sessions • 11:30 – 12:30 – Lunch provided with conference registration • 12:45 - Board vans to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum • 1:00 – 3:30/4:00 – “Arts of the Fur Trade” site visit. (Participants can stay on-site until the dinner or they can take a van back to the hotel)

• 12:30 – 2:00 – Lunch on your own in Gig Harbor

• 3:30 – first van back to the hotel

• 2:15 – Board buses • 2:45 –5:00–Fort Steilacoom site visit/driving tour of old town Steilacoom

• 4:00 – 2nd van back to hotel • 6:00 – Board vans at hotel for closing reception • 6:30 – 9:30 – Catered dinner at Fort Nisqually. Fort’s building lit up by candlelight with a living history performance

• 5:00-ish – Arrive back at hotel






ALHFAM Western Region - Newsletter