Meet the Staff: Evan Liddiard
From answering phone inquiries to photographing new acquisitions, the staff at the VHS have a wide range of talents that help make our collections accessible to the world. Who are the talented men and women of the VHS? In a series of “Meet the Staff” blog posts, we will introduce you to the people who work behind the scenes to collect, preserve, and interpret Virginia history.
What is your job title?
Senior Education Specialist
When did you begin working at the VHS?
What are your job duties?
I am in charge of HistoryConnects, the distance learning and digital outreach initiative of the VHS. This includes live, interactive programming, our online teacher institutes, and creating and sharing digital educational resources with our audiences here in Virginia, across the country, and all over the world!
How did you become interested in history?
I first became interested in history when watching the 1985 miniseries North and South with my parents. I come from a long line of history lovers and storytellers, so it isn’t surprising that this is where I ended up.
What is the favorite part of your job?
The best part about my job is that I get to tell cool stories on TV. My job didn’t even exist when I was going to college or grad school, so the idea that I get help students of all ages understand that there is so much more to history than memorizing dates and names is definitely awesome!
What has been your most memorable moment at the VHS?
I was able to present about the VHS, HistoryConnects, and Virginia Indians to a group of 125 Russian educators in Moscow. That was pretty amazing.
What is your favorite item in your office? Why?
I have an original Vera Liddiard finger painting in my office that is a prized possession. She made it when she had just turned one and I am confident that it has more artistic merit than anything I have ever done.
What is your favorite collection piece at the VHS?
My favorite part of the VHS collection are the broadsides. Broadsides, or broadsheets, are items printed on one side of a sheet of paper and generally posted or distributed as advertisements or bulletins. Most broadsides were issued locally for short-lived purposes, most broadsides and other ephemera were subsequently destroyed. Those that survive today provide an invaluable perspective on nearly every aspect of American history and culture. Because I spend so much of my time working with students, the broadsides are great, because they are visual, easy to get a quick sense of, and make a near immediate impact on students and learning. Visit the VHS website to search our online catalog.
What is your favorite historical period?
My favorite time period to study is America post-WWII. I am particularly interested in the social and cultural aspects, such as changing roles for women and minorities, and the development of a national culture through the widespread adoption of television. I also think that the settlement of the west and the completion of the transcontinental railroad is fascinating.
What are your hobbies?
Whenever I can I like to spend time with my wife and kid. We spend a lot of time outside with our dogs. I also like to read, cook, and watch TV.
If you did not work at the VHS, what would you be doing?
I would hope to be a professional gentleman of leisure. Most likely I would be working for Kentucky Fried Chicken, selling biscuits and gravy all over the Southland.