Oklahoma Museums Association Conference: Interview with Sarah Dumas

Taylor Gmahling -

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We had a blast at the Oklahoma Museums Association Conference this year and met some really cool people doing really cool things at museums.

Museum Hack’s Ethan Angelica with Sarah Dumas!

We met the wonderful Sarah Dumas of the Oklahoma History Center, and were so blown away by some of the awesome programs she and her team ran that we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

First, a little bit about Sarah… She started out at the Oklahoma History Center as an intern in 2009. After falling madly in love with the work, she continued on to part-time and contracted positions at the OHC. In 2015, she became the Director of Education. Her enthusiasm and positive energy for history, her community, and the work is contagious! Sarah loves the challenges that come with making history exciting and relevant to her community.

“I was one of those students who hated history in school. It wasn’t until I started working at the museum that I fully became engaged with history. I want to bring the excitement and passion I feel for the past to people across the state.”

Sarah and her team are big believers in bringing history to life for their guests with unique and hands-on experiences. They more than deliver with the Living History lecture series! Guests are invited to hear and speak with historical character actors from Lincoln to Clara Barton. The actor gives a 30-45 minute presentation in full authentic garb and offers eyewitness accounts and opinions on events throughout history. Guests are then encouraged to mingle and ask the historical characters questions.

President Lincoln and Oklahoma History Center’s Education Team

Sarah and her team also participate by dressing up and acting as historically accurate general characters: Dust Bowl housewife, deputy US marshal, Harvey girl and more. Sarah’s favorite living history characters to play are an 1830s beadwork artist and a World War II nurse. She loves the World War II costume because she gets to wear pants, combat boots and, most importantly, no corset!

“These women were badass!”

While at a living history program, Sarah had the incredible opportunity to meet some of these women and hear their amazing stories.

Sarah says, “When I ask most people what they think of when they think about Oklahoma history they say, ‘cowboys, American Indians, and oil.” Part of her mission is working to change these stereotypes and show how much more there is to Oklahoma and its rich history!

Are you doing amazing new things at your institution? Let’s talk about it! Drop us a line at [email protected]

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