Living History Training at Cumberland Gap

During the last couple of weeks, Tom and I have been doing Living History Training at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  It was as if the rangers suddenly realized that we would be leaving soon and we were the only people who knew how to do things.  Living History Training was inserted on the schedule for all the rangers at some time.

Ranger Olivia stringing heddles

Several of the rangers took advantage of this living history training time.  Ranger Olivia, especially, came up to the textile area to learn how to set up the loom and weave.  She took time to measure out the warp, sley the reed, string heddles, and weave.  She is now the ranger with the most experience in the textile room.  Olivia has a natural talent for noticing details which is very important in weaving.

Ranger Stormy’s first hook

Ranger Stormy was Tom’s best student.  He was out blacksmithing with Tom on several different days.  Because Ranger Stormy was a welder, he already knows some of the properties of metal, so that gave him a step up in blacksmithing.  The park does not have any of its own blacksmithing materials, so they will have to make an investment if they want to have a blacksmithing program.  Tom is hanging on to the forge and bellows he built and all the tools he owns.

Ranger Miriam weaving

Rangers Lucas, Brittony, and Layton listened to parts of our talks on several different days.  They might be able to explain some of the textile program.  Lucas and Brittony both tried spinning on the wool wheel and Brittony showed an aptitude for it.  Ranger Miriam spent some time weaving and is good at jumping in to a talk.  Tom compiled all the information on his Iron Furnace talk and gave it to the rangers on a flash drive.  It will be interesting to see whether they continue with Furnace Friday talks after we leave.

Tom working with Rangers Stormy and Miriam

The park owns the flax brake, a coarse hackle, two spinning wheels, and a historic loom.  They could have a nice textile program without me.  But they weren’t doing it before I came and I’m afraid they won’t be doing it after.  Ranger Olivia has said she will come up and weave on the historic loom when she needs a break from her computer.  I hope so.

Volunteer Margaret spent time in the textile room

Tom and I always enjoy working with the rangers so it was fun to do a little Living History Training with them.  We wish it could have been more, but the rangers always have a lot to do and only a little time.