CHI Officers

Elista Istre, Director

Dr. Elista Istre, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, is a historian dedicated to advancing the field of cultural and historical interpretation at home and abroad. She holds degrees in U.S. History, Public History, and Heritage Studies. Istre has established, directed, and supported several heritage sites and museums throughout the United States, including Vermilionville: A Cajun and Creole Heritage and Folklife Park, Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, and several U.S. Army Field Museums. She has published and presented both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Istre has been involved with living history interpretation for over fifteen years and was among the first to obtain a Master Level certification in the field. She has portrayed characters from a variety of time periods including the French and Indian War, War of 1812, Fur Trade Era, and World War II. She currently serves as the certification chair for the Arkansas Living History Association, a board member for NAI, and the director for NAI’s Cultural and Historical Interpretation section

Jake Koch, Deputy Director

Jake Koch is originally from Sandusky, Ohio. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History with a Minor in Public History from Capital University and earned his Master’s Degree in History from East Tennessee State University. He began his interpretive career as a Living History Intern at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in the summer of 2005. While in graduate school he worked at Tipton-Haynes Historic Site in Johnson City, Tennessee, and as a seasonal at Vicksburg National Military Park. Jake joined the permanent staff at Vicksburg in 2010, and stayed there until accepting the position of Lead Park Ranger at Andersonville National Historic Site in 2016.

Jake enjoys living history interpretation, especially during the Civil War and First World War time periods. He became an NAI member in 2010, was a Certified Interpreter Guide, and has attended the NAI Certified Interpreter Trainer Course and Coaching Interpreters Workshop. Jake has written multiple articles for Legacy Magazine. He currently serves as CHI’s secretary/treasurer. Jake lives in Americus, Georgia with his wife Carly, son Abraham, and dogs Andy Jackson and Molly Pitcher.

Kendra Moore, Treasurer/Secretary

A native Nebraskan, I left the Great Plains in 2005 to begin doctoral work in the field of History. After graduating with a PhD in US/Mexico Borderlands, Race and Ethnic, and Women’s History, I spent seven years teaching at the university level in Arizona and New Jersey. An interest in public history and interpretation, combined with a passion for nature, influenced my decision to shift careers in 2015, accepting the Community Outreach Interpreter position at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. While here, I have actively worked with community stakeholders, staff members, and affiliated Native-American tribes to develop dynamic interpretive programming, exhibits, and materials meant to inspire the preservation of our unique natural and cultural resources. For me, interpretation not only plays a crucial role in educating visitors about their past, but also encouraging them to preserve their future.