National parks superintendent Jim Bailey poses with his family at the Booker T Washington Monument, a place that celebrates living history

Preserving history’s mark—one tree, one brick, one story at a time

Artillery booms in the distance as men hurriedly button up their scratchy wool uniforms and grab their muskets. The smell of campfires and horses intertwine with shouts, neighs, and gunfire. 

“It was a sensory overload,” remembers Jim Bailey ’03, M.A. ’07, history, of the recreated battles and camps he saw during 125th anniversary Civil War events. “At the age of eight, it wasn’t that I was reading books and studying history. It was something I could see. Smell. Hear. Feel.”
Exactly what Bailey would do with his early love for immersive history, however, wasn’t clear until a class during his first year at UMBC, when a park ranger from nearby Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine in Baltimore City gave a guest talk on volunteering for the National Park Service. By December of 1998, 18-year-old Bailey was signed up as a Volunteer-in-Parks, the first step in a long career that has led him to his current position as superintendent of both Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and Booker T. Washington National Monument.  Continue Reading Preserving history’s mark—one tree, one brick, one story at a time

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