Historian — Educator — Interpreter
As the Henricus Staff Spotlight Series continues, we are pleased to take this opportunity to introduce you to Carrie Crook, one of our Virginia Indian Interpreters. We take great pride in the time and energy our team puts into research at Henricus Historical Park. Carrie is dedicated to educating visitors on the daily lives of Powhatan Indians.
What is your position at Henricus Historical Park? And how long have you been a team member?
Dominion James River Powhatan History Educator/Interpreter. I’ve been working here about 2 ½ years as a regular employee and contracted for about a year before that.
Do you interpret a particular historical figure? If so, who and what is the most interesting thing about this person?
Normally I portray just a generic Powhatan woman, including women’s skills and culture. For special events I sometimes portray Pocahontas. The most interesting part of portraying her is being able to illuminate truths about her life to the public. She is one of the most famous Native Americans in American history so helping people sort out fact and myths about her life is the most rewarding part.
Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the Richmond area?
I am originally from Culpeper, Virginia, which is a small town near Charlottesville. I’ve lived in the Richmond area since 2007.
Who or what inspired your love of history?
I’ve always had an interest in history ever since I was young. My father is a history buff who introduced me to American history when I was young. He took me out touring civil war sites and reenactments from the time I was a baby, and ever since I’ve had a passion for history. I received my bachelors in History from VCU in 2011.
If you could change one historical event in 1600 Virginia, what would it be and why?
If I could change one historical even that affected 17th century Virginia it would be to prevent the death of Pocahontas in 1617. If she had lived and returned to Virginia then perhaps the peace between the Powhatans and the English would have continued preventing the attack in 1622 and possibly promoting a different kind of relationship between the Native Americans and English colonists moving forward.
Do you have a favorite event at Henricus?
My favorite Henricus special event is “Bump in the Night”. Its our Halloween event and each year we pick a different myth or legend to tell to the public normally in a first person character. I always have a good time because it’s the one event when we get to do a little acting for the public. Rather than talking history or working on the fly with the public we get the chance to plan out what we will say or do set up creepy vignettes and scenes. Bump really allows the creative juices to flow, and its one of our better attended events.
What do you feel makes Henricus Historical Park special?
The rich history of the site that includes not just the second permanent English settlement in the new world but Civil war and revolutionary war events near by that helped to shape the beginning of the nation.