Dave Maher

Living History during Antietam’s 150th Commemoration

No matter how many books or documentaries of the Battle of Antietam you may have read or seen, there is no better way to learn, absorb, and experience the history at Antietam than to actually walk the same fields, explore the same farms, and tramp the same roads that are forever connected to the bloody and pivotal events of September 1862.  As an Antietam Battlefield Guide, it is my hope and aim that you will leave Antietam with not only a deep understanding of  it’s storied past, an appreciation of the high level of preservation, and an amazement of the natural beauty of the landscape, but also with an overall fun and fulfilling time that you will remember forever.

A native of High Bridge, NJ, I grew up in a region that was flush with colonial, revolutionary, and industrial history, as well as an abundance of natural beauty.  This connection with the cultural and natural past instilled in me a love for all things History.  Clamoring to do more than “experience” the past through books and articles, I have been a Civil War Living Historian since 1998, attempting to recreate and interpret the lives and stories of soldiers, most notably from the famous Irish Brigade.  I have taken part as a military extra in several films, including “Antietam” (1999), “Gods & Generals” (2002), and “The War That Made America” (2005).  I received a BA in History with a Public History concentration, and a minor in Geography from Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania.  While at Shippensburg, I had the privilege to take part in the planning and development of Shippensburg’s Civil War Trails tour, as well as work hands on in the conservation of Shippenburg’s historic African American burial ground known as Locust Grove Cemetery.  I received a MA in American Studies from Pennsylvania State University, where I continued to concentrate on Public Heritage, having the unique opportunity to take part in archaeological digs of centuries old Native American villages.  I’m also a classic car nut, and own several classic Volkswagens.

Currently, I live in south central Pennsylvania, and have worked for the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office in Harrisburg since 2008.

In 2009 I began to volunteer with the National Park Service at Antietam National Battlefield where I assist visitors in the Visitor Center, act as a roaming Battlefield Ambassador, and take part in many of the Living History demonstrations throughout the year, including Antietam’s own all-volunteer artillery crew: Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery.

Every time I tour Antietam, I see and learn something new and remarkable.  I look forward to touring with you, and sharing my passion for the past, while bringing history to life.


One response

  1. Nicely written. Our lives have paralleled so much it’s amazing. One of these days I hope to become a Guide too. More power to you!

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