Interview with Barbara Bauer

Hello, fellow history lovers! We are a week away from our big annual meeting, and we couldn’t be more excited. A lot of prep work is going into our meeting, and we can’t wait to share all of our news with all of you!

To help spread the word about our annual meeting, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce you to Barbara Bauer, our friend and presenter for the 2023 Historical Society Annual Meeting. Barbara is co-owner on the company TAG Historical Research & Consulting, which has over 25 years experience conducting cultural resource investigations, litigation support research, and developing interpretive exhibits and programs. She has written or contributed to dozens of reports generated by TAG since 1993, and serves as project director on all Section 106 compliance projects. This basically means that when her team takes on a project to see if a house or building can be considered “historical”, they do a lot of work!

We started our questions with wanting to know why she enjoyed working with historical items like artifacts, homes, and projects. We know that we love to get our hands on great piece of history, too! Barbara say’s:

“I’ve always been curious and interested in who were the people before us, how did they shape a community, where did they come from, and who they were. I’ve been lucky to have a career that lets me work with archival information to investigate and learn about them.  Historic buildings and structures help to share the story of the people and the community. It is one of my passions to document them and also help folks understand their importance. Even more, I’ve met so many folks dedicated to preserving their history and I am in awe of all they have done throughout the state to preserve their history.”

Idaho State Historical Society, located in Boise, Idaho. Near the Old Idaho State Pen.

Are you curious on some of Barbara’s previous work experience? She has a plethora of experience working with some very talented people. She was happy to tell us about her experiences in the history field.

“I’ve been working in the history field for a long time, almost back to the dinosaur era! That is where my career started. I attended Idaho State University, and my work-study job was with the Idaho Museum of Natural History. The museum was just getting off the ground and for the brief time that I was there, I had a chance to work on many aspects of it as they built the museum. I’d always had an interest in history, which was my major, but I didn’t realize the many different types of jobs open for a person with a history degree.  

I continued my history degree at Boise State University, and in my junior year, my wonderful professor Dr. Robert Sims realized that I would benefit from an internship. I’d worked in Cody, Wyoming for the summer and made contact at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (now the Buffalo Bill Center of the West). Through Dr. Sims, an internship with arranged with the Plains Indian Museum under the curator George Horse Capture. I worked for Mr. Horse Capture as an intern for two years and after receiving my B.A. from Boise State University was hired to work as the Collections Manager for the Center. I loved that job, but in the midst of it, got married and my husband got a job in Boise. It was bittersweet leaving my job, but wonderful coming back home to Boise. 

 At that time there were few jobs for historians in Boise. If you were lucky, you got a job at the Idaho State Historical Society. However, this was the early 1990s and budgets were tight. I made ends meet by working on a grant project for the Idaho Centennial funded through the Idaho State Historical Society. I worked with a talented team of historians who assisted local communities and historical societies with history projects. In fact, one such project is the great resource book, Middleton in Picture and Story. Just about that time, the Basque community in Boise under the leadership of Adelia Garro Simplot was starting a museum in the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga House. I was hired as the first director of the museum. That was a great job and my first time working on all aspects of museum management. There were so many dedicated volunteers on that project and those people are the ones who helped to grow the museum from a small local venue to a facility known around the world. Stop by the museum any day they are open and there will be visitors not just from the Treasure Valley but from Spain and many other countries.

Just about that time I was starting a family and needed a job with a little more flexibility. I was asked to be part of a historical cooperative that would provide historical research services to a variety of clients. This was the start of TAG and over the course of about seven years, we morphed into a cultural resource company that provides services for a variety of projects from interpretive exhibits to site surveys- similar to what we did for Middleton. “

Idaho State Museum, located in Boise, Idaho.

So what is in Barbara’s future? She tells us about why she wants to continue to work in Idaho, and why it is so important to her.

“As for future goals and dreams, I want to continue to work and learn about the history of Idaho through research, survey projects, and other assorted projects. I want to keep meeting people who share this passion, and  I want to keep working to help people understand the importance of history and special places.”

We couldn’t agree more, Babara! So, the big question: what can you expect to find out at our Annual Meeting on February 4th? Lucky for us, Barbara gave us a little sneak peak!

“The survey for the Historical Society of Middleton is one way I get to keep my goals. It’s been fascinating to find through the survey the link between agriculture and transportation. To discover that Middleton may have a Sears kit home, and to have explored the remains of the Middleton flour mill.” 

We can’t wait to hear even more about what Barbara found in our little town at the Annual Meeting. Make sure you drop by on Saturday, February 4th at the Trolley Station in Middleton, Idaho at 1:00 pm to hear her presentation. It will take place right after the business part of the meeting. Food and drink will be provided, and it will give you an opportunity to chat with the Middleton Historical Society, sign up to be a volunteer, or work on our board.

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