Board of Directors
ALHFAM’s Board of Directors is responsible for managing the organization and for setting its policies and future direction. It includes the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and immediate past president, each of whom serve for two years, and nine board members. These nine board members are elected in groups of three new board members each year, each of whom serve one three-year term.
Regular board meetings are held twice a year: at the annual meeting and again in the late fall at a board member’s site. Board minutes are posted on ALHFAM.org and published in the Bulletin after they are approved by the board.
ALHFAM Board Members at the 2022 Fall Board Meeting at Sauder Village Living History Museum and Farm
OFFICERS OF THE ALHFAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President / Jim Lauderdale (Term Expires 2025)
Jim is the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Director and has served on the ALHFAM Board of Directors, as FARM PIG Co-Chair, and STP Committee Liaison. He's also a member of the Historic Fort Steilacoom Board of Directors, was the Nash Farm Manager, Texas Living History Association Vice President and President, and a Barrington Living History Farm Interpreter.
Jim joined ALHFAM and attended his first annual conference in 2012 at Farmer’s Branch Historical Park. He saw first-hand what makes it a great organization: the many knowledgeable and talented members, willing to network and share their skills with others. He has seen ALHFAM grow and become even more accessible in a digital age and he believes in the organization’s mission and feels certain ALHFAM has a role in shaping living history, farm and agricultural museums of the future.
The President is the chair of the Committee on Organizational Partnerships (COOP).
Mark has worked professionally in living history museums/parks since 1988. Currently Administrator for the New Jersey Office of Historic Sites, he directly oversees 50+ state historic sites, 20+ history professionals, and 24 nonprofit partners. He previously served as Director of the NJ State Park Service (including Office of Historic Sites) from 2012 – 2021. Mark holds B.A.’s in American History and American Music, and a Certificate in Historic Preservation. He has portrayed both civilian and military as a member of progressive living history units and leads the NJ Living History Advisory Council.
Active in ALFHAM as an individual and/or institutional member since 1988, he served on the Board of Directors 2003 – 2006; chaired/co-chaired 4 regional meetings (Mtn. Plains & Mid-Atlantic) and served on 2 Annual Meeting and Conference committees in 1995 and 2003.
ALHFAM’s most pressing issue and how they may be addressed:
“A pressing issue facing ALHFAM is expanding its leadership role in living history. Another is attracting new members with diversity in age, gender identification, race, and culture. ALHFAM must champion the complexity of those who ‘peopled’ the lands and preserved cultural resources. We must focus on ALHFAM’s core messages through a vibrant online presence to attract new members and showcase the organization’s role in preserving historic trades, skills, and knowledge.”The Vice-President is the chair of the Committee on Regional Networking (CORN).
Kathy is the Director of the Museums and Historic Sites Division with the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) where she oversees operations at 25 museums and historical properties across the state. She has served as the president of the Oklahoma Museums Association and the Mountain-Plains Museums Association, and as a board member for ALHFAM. Kathy served as Co-Chair for the 2018 Annual Meeting. Though born in Idaho, Kathy has been in Oklahoma since age 5 which pretty much makes her a native Oklahoman. Kathy started work at the OHS as a seasonal worker right after graduating from college, and they still haven’t been able to get rid of her.
When not working, Kathy enjoys traveling, playing with her four grandkids, knitting, sewing, reading, camping, fishing, playing with natural dyes, spinning—badly, and spending time with her husband of 40+ years.
Deb worked at Old Sturbridge Village in positions ranging from seasonal interpreter to senior vice president. She held the position of food historian for many years, developing programs such as Dinner in a Country Village and Hearthside Bounty and edited the Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook. She most recently wrote the prospectus and final application for the Old Sturbridge Academy Charter School that opened this past September.
Secretary / Kevin Lynch (Term Expires 2024)
Kevin is currently the Museum Manager of Historic Brattonsville in South Carolina. During his thirty years in living History, Kevin has worked at multiple museums throughout the Midwest and the South. Kevin previously served on the ALHFAM Board from 2014-16. Most recently, over the last several years, Kevin has worked closely with the descendants of Brattonsville's enslaved community to guide research, develop programs and exhibits, and promote community engagement.
Like no other form of interpretation, living history provides personal experiences that cannot be duplicated. It's one thing to experience a museum exhibit or read a Wikipedia article; it's another to engage a subject with all your senses. Kevin is proud of ALHFAM's ongoing commencement to provisional development that embraces living history in all its forms. Whether it's living History programming, theater, independent performers, or traditional museums, ALHFAM is always there to help.
DIRECTORS WITH TERMS EXPIRING IN 2024
Kerry-Leigh has 27 years of museum experience in business development, strategic planning and communications. She is currently Director of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum and runs a working farm on a national historic site that welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year. She has also served as Vice-President and Secretary General for the International Association of Agriculture Museums (AIMA) since 2012.
Aaron grew up touring historic sites across the Midwest. He is a 2020 graduate of the Jekyll Island Management Institute. He currently wears many hats at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, Arkansas. Previously Aaron worked or interned at seven museums, historic sites, and/or aquariums in three different states. He is the President of the Arkansas Living History Association.
Aaron joined ALHFAM in 2015. Since then, he has learned quite a bit and met some amazing friends. He has presented at three conferences and helped at the 2018 annual conference in Tahlequah and the 2019 SEALHFAM regional conference.
Meg Furler holds an MA from the University of Alberta in Material Culture focusing on 18th making practices. She has worked at various large-scale living history sites over the past 15 years, from management to in-costume roles, taking any excuse to show folks how to use a treadle machine. A strong advocate for historical trades, Meg has been the co-chair of the Historic Trades PIG for longer than she can remember. She is a storyteller and maker at heart. Meg is looking forward to supporting the living history community through this brief term with the ALHFAM Board of Directors.
Directors with Terms Expiring in 2025
Although I have had an avid interest in history since I can remember, I was trained to be a family doctor. I first became involved in living history ten years ago, starting as a volunteer, managing the kitchen garden at Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. The next year I joined our site’s Board and two years ago, upon retiring, I became Board President. My first experience with ALHFAM was at the MAAHLFAM conference in 2014 at Peter Wentz Farmstead. I have attended the last two ALHFAM annual conferences virtually and presented on Seedsaving at the 2021 conference.
ALHFAM has a lot to offer to its members. I believe that diversity and outreach are key issues for our group. Going forward, we need to increase our efforts to include underrepresented groups and have them play a role in shaping our site’s interpretations to ensure that we practice effective public history. We also need to encourage and help our sites practice excellent outreach and make it easier for them to use up to date methods of producing content including social media and virtual programming. This type of programming can be an effective tool to bring the public to us to experience true living history.
I’ve worked in Interpretation my whole career, first in seasonal positions and now at Conner Prairie, where I’ve worked in Interpretation for more than 35 years. I’m currently the Domestic Trades Manager, overseeing Foodways, Gardens and Textiles staff.
I began attending ALHFAM and MOMCC meetings not long after I started at Conner Prairie. I have presented sessions at each over the years and written articles for both the ALHFAM proceedings and the MOMCC magazine. I’ve served as a conference coordinator for MOMCC and am on the planning committee for the 2023 ALHFAM at Sauder Village. I consider my involvement with ALHFAM and MOMCC to have been vital to my professional growth.
Covid has forced us, individually and as organizations, to connect to the world in ways we might not have considered. ALHFAM needs to continue to play a role in helping museums, large and small, negotiate this changing climate. Remote access has allowed us to attend conferences or visits sites that we might never visit in person. ALHFAM can help lead the way for sites as we work together to share knowledge and find best practices that we can carry forward, helping all of us grow stronger.
DIRECTORS WITH TERMS EXPIRING IN 2026
Jennifer earned a BA in History and Masters in American Studies (specializing in Native studies and military culture). She serves as the Director of Fort Gibson Historic Site for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Jennifer has experience in living history, interpretation, research, program development, etc. She is also a professor of history at Connors State College, teaching Oklahoma History, U.S. History to 1865, and U.S. History Since 1865.
History with ALHFAM: She has helped and learned from the organization since 2013. Jennifer was part of the conference committee that hosted the 2014 regional meeting and the 2016 annual meeting, and she’s been educated and enriched at every annual meeting she has attended.
ALHFAM’s most pressing issues and how they may be addressed:
Sarah is the Interpretation Manager at Heritage Park Historical Village. Sarah first heard of ALHFAM in 2014 and listened to stories from coworkers who attended the conference hosted by Heritage Park in 2014, after which she immediately became a member. Sarah had the opportunity to attend her first conference at Genesee Country Village in 2017, and then to present at the 2019 conference at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. Sarah is also a member of the PIE, FPI, and Historic Foodways PIGs.
ALHFAM’s most Pressing Issues and how they May be Addressed:
Although not the full ALHFAM experience that everyone loves, the 2020 and 2021 virtual conferences made it financially accessible for many people from an organization to participate in sessions and discussions, opening up the benefits of the conference to many more than usually attend. This was particularly true for frontline and seasonal interpreters, who were able to connect directly to each other and get the full benefit of conference panels and presentations. As travel becomes more expensive and budgets become tighter, it will become more difficult to maintain regular attendance at conferences for more than a few people from each site, and the resultant dissemination of best practices may become more irregular. Finding ways to foster and facilitate those connections across organizations and regions, particularly for new interpreters, and to increase virtual access to national and regional conferences will help lower the financial barrier and increase participation in ALHFAM to keep our organization strong.
Melissa began at Old Sturbridge Village in 2016. There, she demonstrated early 1800s hearth cooking and taught culinary and domestic history of rural 19th century New England to visitors. Since 2018, she has been employed at Strawbery Banke Museum, where she successfully restructured and led the hearth cooking workshops, including training staff and planning menus. Melissa researched domestic and social content specific to the Puddle Dock area and has interpreted utilizing both 1st and 3rd person techniques.
Melissa joined ALHFAM in 2017. In 2020, she was elected New England Regional Representative, and co-chair of the Historic Foodways P.I.G. She served a two-year term in both positions, and in 2022 was re-elected as co-chair of the Foodways P.I.G. She has worked with its members on many projects, particularly through the Facebook page, to both engage and foster fellowship amongst current members and to also inspire non-members to be more involved in both Historic Foodways, and ALHFAM as a whole.
ALHFAM’s most pressing issues and how they may be addressed:
“As our senior historians begin to retire from their crafts, ALHFAM must document their skills and knowledge, and also facilitate the passing their knowledge to the next generation. In addition to the SKILLS Database, funding hands-on training classes, as well as virtual classes and lectures could aid in this.”