Emaly Allison is a Heritage Interpreter...and TikTok Star

Posted by Billy Chandler
Emaly Allison is right where she wants to be: standing on a frozen lake.

Emaly is a heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living history farm just outside of Chicago.  Her job is to interpret the lifeways of 1890s living, and this includes dressing the part, taking care of the farm animals, processing harvests, and ice harvesting.

This winter, Emaly joined fellow interpreters, each wearing period clothing as they harvested ice from the top of Timber Lake – a small lake on the farm’s property. They worked together to  saw, hoist, and haul off giant slabs of ice. Then they carried it by wagon to an ice house where it was put in storage to be used on the farm.

Emaly and crew harvesting ice from Timber Lake. The farm recently added a TikTok account to share the work of their farm, and this video of the ice harvest set to the soundtrack of the movie Frozen has been their most popular post to-date. In fact, this video has more than 18.6 MILLION views. That’s not a typo.

Emaly says the attention has been great for their living museum. “People saw the TikTok video and said, ‘Hey! I live just down the road from this!’ and now we’re getting more visitors as a result.”

Kline Creek Farm gets roughly half a million visitors every year, with guests ranging from small children who get to learn about the workings of a farm to older patrons who enjoy the attention to history.

And because the farm is part of a larger forest preserve, visitors also get to learn about conservation farming as well as the realities of farm predators that occur naturally in nature. “We keep sheep and chickens and cows…and we also have to share space with coyotes and raccoons and hawks. It’s another great teaching opportunity!”

Emaly got the history interpretation bug while doing a summer internship at the Carl Sandburg House in North Carolina. It didn’t take long for her to realize this is what she wanted to do. So she added a certificate in public history to her double major in history and civic innovation, and then added a master’s degree in public history from the University of West Florida. Now she’s working in the public history field – both literally and figuratively.

And…she’s a social media star.

Enjoy a full conversation with Emaly on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

  • Emaly Allison
    E&H Class of 2019
    Heritage Interpreter

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2350-cleo-cooper-has-traded-helmet-for-hard-drives"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/204,105,598,499/11297_Cleo_Cooper.rev.1652734547.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/204,105,598,499/11297_Cleo_Cooper.rev.1652734547.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/204,105,598,499/11297_Cleo_Cooper.rev.1652734547.jpg" alt="Cleo Cooper E&H Class of 2014" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="394" data-max-h="394" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2350-cleo-cooper-has-traded-helmet-for-hard-drives">Cleo Cooper Has Traded Helmet for Hard Drives</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Cleo Cooper has made a big career shift – but he’s finding that his ties to Arena Football are helpful in the business sector. <a href="/live/news/2350-cleo-cooper-has-traded-helmet-for-hard-drives" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1988-kenton-williams-business-cant-be-as-usual-in-2021"><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,800,800/10040_Kenton_Williams.jfif" alt=" Kenton Williams Emory & Henry Class of 2014 " class="lw_image" width="345" height="225"/></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1988-kenton-williams-business-cant-be-as-usual-in-2021">Kenton Williams: Business Can’t Be “As Usual” in 2021</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kenton Williams is back home leading the family business: but it’s not business as it always was.</span> <a href="/live/news/1988-kenton-williams-business-cant-be-as-usual-in-2021" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>