Heather A. Huyck's long career as a public historian bridges academically based history and place-based history, especially as found in the National Park Service system (she has visited 324 of the 419 national park sites). Trained in history and anthropology to focus on cultural resources, she worked on 81 enacted laws as a historian with the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands from 1985 to 1994 and as a Park Ranger/Historian for the National Park Service for over twenty years. She taught American Studies, American History, and Africana Studies at the College of William and Mary from 2002 to 2013. While President of the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites (NCWHS), Huyck focused on bringing historians from all backgrounds together at OAH, AHA, AASLH, NCPH and The Berkshire Conference focusing on the research, preservation and interpretation of women's history. She is Co-Chair of the NCWHS Research & Interpretation Committee. Her ITALICS Doing Women's History in Public: A Handbook for Museums and Historic SitesITALICS provides research and preservation methodology for written, oral, visual and tangible resources which cumulate in the interpretation of the whole story of American women's history with the public. The former director of the Jamestown 400th Project, she received the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions in public history; edited Women's History: Sites and Resources (2008); and coedited, with Peg Strobel, of Revealing Women's History: Best Practices for Historic Sites (2011). In addition to working on various NCWHS projects, including webinars, a Toolkit, and numerous presentations. She was the project director for the Maggie Walker Community as they processed over 15,000 documents from the indefatigible Mrs. Maggie Lena Walker, an African American community organizer and entrepreneur (1864–1934) best known for founding a bank (1903), a newspaper, and an emporium, and for running an insurance company whose resistance to American apartheid should be much better known. Heather Huyck loves to canoe, camp and travel and proudly wore the NPS uniform doing French translations, researching Clara Barton, against unscrupulous contractors, and protecting Alan Alda from his overly enthusiastic fans.
Head of an African American beneficial order from 1899 to 1934 whose 100,000 members in 24 states in the 1920s, Mrs. Walker distinguished herself as a leader, Race Woman, banker, philanthropist, and activist. Her organization the Independent Order brought together black working class women to resist American Apartheid. This lecture analyzes their written records and architectural analysis of their national headquarters building to appreciate the alternative world these determined women created. This illustrated lecture which raises key issues still too relevant today can be presented to a predominantly academic audience or to a more diverse one.