Meet the 'Victorian Lady'

"This career is a lot more fun! I'm an avid reader; when I moved into my house I had 48 boxes of books and my library is now filled with 19th century primary sources," said McLane. "I live like they did back then. Every morning when the sun comes up I open my drapes and let it stream in so it can light and warm the house. Then I close those two layers of drapes at night and the heat is retained. I don't have a television and I only recently bought a laptop."

McLane said she feels like life during Victorian times was more real and less artificial.

"I like to think my life is actually my own reality show and I don't need to sit down in front of a television and watch other people have their reality. My reality is that I don't have a TV. I live in a house that was built in 1870 and I have beautiful architectural elements that I can always admire like bay windows and a tin ceiling," said McLane. "I think there's value in history and if we make history more relevant, more people would see that value and enjoy it as well."

Making history relevant is exactly what she tries to do with her tea parties and other programs, like talks about Victorian underpinnings and many discussions about the woman's role during that time. She'll be speaking at the Women's Symposium at the Hamilton Montgomery Boces Center Saturday, March 20, as part of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.

McLane said she discovered her passion in a backwards way"her love of antique clothing introduced her to her fascination with history. Each outfit, she said, tells a story and looking at the details explains the time and energy it took to create that.

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