For one fleeting moment on a windy, gray day in November, Rebecca Woofter lived inside the 17th century. At just 9 years old, her family vacation to Boston and Plymouth Plantation — a living history museum — paved the way for her future as programs assistant for Mission San Luis. The re-creation of that English colonial village gave Woofter a true sense of the hardships that the original inhabitants must have faced, as well as a window into their community life.
“The villagers were tending to their gardens and it felt like they actually lived there and needed these buildings for their survival,” recalls Woofter. “It made the experience so immersive and realistic and you couldn’t get that from reading a textbook. That was when I knew I loved history, especially living history.”
As Woofter prepares to transport visitors through time for Mission San Luis’ sixth Winter Solstice Celebration on Dec. 16 and 17, she’s reminded of the magnetic pull these sites and museums had on her during her early years. With her father in the military, Woofter’s family lived in several cities across the U.S. As a result, she experienced American history firsthand in places like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Williamsburg.
Social Studies quickly became her favorite school subject, and it was no surprise to her family that she decided to embark on a degree in American history during her time at Florida State University. Though her bachelor’s focused on Native American and Florida history, Woofter’s minor in anthropology and museum studies gave her a solid foundation to pursue and present cultural history, and eventually she completed graduate studies in historic administration and public history.
“I am fortunate to have volunteered and worked for great museums around Tallahassee,” says Woofter, who has worked behind the scenes at the Museum of Florida History, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, and the Taylor County Historical Society. “History really touches people, and knowing where your community has been is inspiring. If you don’t know your past, you don’t know your present.”
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