Living History Exhibits and Activities

History comes alive when it is hands-on. As the director of the Bolduc House Museum from 2009 to 2016, I was responsible to lead the transition to Living History where costumed members of the staff and volunteers involved the visitors in activities that would have been routine in the late 18th century in this French community in the mid-Mississippi Valley. From holding a Loup Garoux hunt in October, creating a French Paradise Tree in December to collecting fleeces to wash, card, spin and weave and more, the programs I developed were popular with families, school groups and adult visitors 

Grant Takes Command Exhibit

I created this exhibit for the Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation and on display at Heritage Hall, 102 North Main Street, Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701 from September 15, 2017 through November. The goal of this exhibit was to provide the Cape Girardeau community with details about the way the town changed because of its status as an occupied city during the Civil War. It was developed in conjunction with the Fourth Annual Ulysses S. Grant Symposium to display what happened during the three days in 1861 when General Grant was in charge of the Union Army forces in Cape Girardeau. As Dr. Frank Nickell explains, "It was in Cape Girardeau that Grant took command, when on to take Vicksburg and ultimately, to become the eighteenth president of the United States.

Eastern Woodlands Indian Village Living History Space

Created in conjunction with This Community of Cultures: The Shawnee and Delaware Story in Ste. Genevieve, that was written by Alisha M. Cole and funded for the Bolduc House Museum by the Missouri Humanities Council, this living history space developed under my guidance as director between 2013-2016. 

The John F. G. Barker Collection of St. Louis Railroad History 1900-1990

In 2005, I compiled an anecdotal catalog of John Barker's collection of model rail cars, locomotives and cabooses that comprised HO-scale models of trains in St. Louis. His models were articulated and painted based on his original photographs of the trains in St. Louis. I facilitated the gift of this collection, including cabinets custom-designed by Peggy Barker, and several thousand of the photographs, to the St. Louis Mercantile Library on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. This project culminated in the book, St. Louis Gateway Rail - The 1970's, which is available for sale here.

Bicentennial Commemorative Exhibit of the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes

I wrote and, with Jean Rissover's help with graphics and layout, installed the Bicentennial Exhibit of the New Madrid Earthquakes at the Bolduc House Museum where I was the director. This exhibit took a historical, anecdotal approach. It opened in December 2011 and was on display through 2013.

Pictures to be added soon.

Interpretive Text Panels for a Period Room

I wrote these text panels to explain the history of this transitional LeMeilleur House, at New France - the OTHER Colonial America in 2015. They allowed a visitor to browse, over the reading rail, at their own pace. They told the history of the family, the restoration of the house, and the details of the Louisiana Purchase. One panel quoted the marriage contract by which the young couple who built the house was given three very young enslaved Africans as a wedding present by the wife's mother.

‚Äč

The Way We Worked in Ste. Genevieve Exhibit and The Future of Work in Ste. Genevieve

I wrote the proposal for the Bolduc House Museum to be the first site in Missouri to host the Smithsonian's Museum On Mainstreet Traveling Exhibit: The Way We Worked in 2011. I designed the local component of the exhibit, which was on display at our partner's location, the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center. The local component featured a different kind of work done in Ste. Genevieve, sharing how the technology and each type of work has changed over time. Volunteer Barbara Fitzgerald and I videoed over 90 oral-history interviews with people from Ste. Genevieve about their own work experiences. I wrote and provided much of the instruction for the curriculum that involved more than 500 kindergarten, first and second graders from Ste. Genevieve in the project. Their drawings were on display at the Bolduc House Museum's Beauvais- Linden House for about three months. All the work in archived at the Smithsonian, the Missouri Humanities Council and at New France - the OTHER Colonial America.

2012 Smithsonian Folklife Exhibit

I designed these posters and place-mats for the Mississippi River Hills Association which was featured in the Missouri University booth on the National Mall in June 2012. I also lectured twice during this festival. I spoke about French America through the lens of the life of Louis Bolduc. The puppet, Zuts the Squirrel served as the mascot for the Bolduc House Museum from 2012-2016. He was my invention and alter-ego whose Facebook page can still be located.

Vieux Noel

Guests were invited to stroll through this lighted path behind the Beauvais-Linden House to encounter children and wisemen (chiefs) from distant tribes who were coming to give a gift to the Christ Child whose creche, along with Mary, Joseph, the angel and some animals, were hidden in an ancient boxwood grove. I created this display with the help of Jean Rissover, Ed Lutrell and staff and volunteer members of the Bolduc House Museum and the local Girl Scouts when I was director there. It connected to the multi-cultural French, African and Native American albeit Catholic culture which called colonial Ste. Genevieve home. It was open from 2013-2015 from Thanksgiving through New Years.

Lesley Barker

This Community of Cultures - The African Story in Colonial Ste. Geneveive

I created this exhibit to honor the contributions that Africans made in early Ste. Genevieve from details about individuals that can be documented. As much as possible we named the individuals, giving them credit for what they did. Graphics and layout was done by Jean Rissover and the installation was performed by a team of dedicated volunteers. The exhibit opened in 2014; was on display through late 2017; and may be updated and relocated at New France- The OTHER Colonial America, 125 North Main Street, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri 63670