Creating advocates for history through the stories of greater Los Angeles.
by Steven Dugan
The Homestead is happy to introduce you to one of our newest docents: Liliana Martinez. Liliana recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor’s degree in History. Next, she begins work on earning her teaching credential. On her volunteer application, Liliana expressed an interest in becoming a museum teacher, and it wasn’t long before she started observing, and then quickly leading, A Journey Through Time tours for fourth-grade students. This past spring, Liliana went through training to learn how to lead public tours of the museum’s historic houses, which she began doing over the summer. Among other things, we recently asked Liliana to share some of her observations on history, working with kids, and her training at the museum.
What experiences drew you to want to be a history teacher?
I had awesome history teachers in secondary school that fueled my passion for history. They made me see that history was more than just dates and facts. I hope to pass on their teachings to my students.
What do you like best about working with our younger visitors on tours like A Journey Through Time?
The best part about working with younger visitors is the energy that they bring. Based on my experience doing the Journey Through Time tours, the kids are excited to be there. They enjoy participating in the activities and they want to learn about the Workman and Temple families.
What do you think is the best way to get younger audiences excited about history?
History should be more interactive. Based on courses in education that I have taken, lectures just don’t do it anymore. Educators are encouraged to give students a more active role in their learning. Younger audiences should have the opportunity to partake in discussions, research, and activities. I also think it’s important to find ways to connect the past and the present.
Since you have recently gone through docent training, do you have any advice for others who may be interested in giving tours but are a little nervous about the process?
My advice is to just go for it. Gennie Truelock and Jennifer Scerra [the Homestead staff who provided the training] were very helpful and reassuring throughout the entire process. I really enjoyed my time with them and my fellow trainees Cheryl and Gary Temple, Mary Rabago, and Breeze Hernandez.
When you’re not at the Homestead, what are some of your other hobbies?
I like baking, writing, and watching musicals. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.