When Tricia comes as the Historian a new world opens up. The period costume still comes but is likely to end up on a member of staff. As she can stay out of role is it easier to help children use objects to learn about the past and to make supported arguments about life in the past. Using her three stage recording technique or colour analysis children can develop more analytical history skills. As well as hands on activities the brain cells get stretched before relaxing with tales of the time.
The other advantage of being out of period costume is the ability to to look at overview or chronology of a theme. Then compare the current topic with what was happening in other cultures at the time. It is not appropriate for a period Anglo-Saxon to know about the Maya but the Historian can dip in and out.
Studying history is great fun with surprises along the way. The Historian can look at a historical topic in depth or as a long overview. Many times both. The overviews are fabulous for highlighting continuities and changes. Working across the collections it is easier for children to spot similarities and use the changes to help determine which way is back and which forwards. “the older lunch things are wood” 5 yr old. “things are changing but the toy is till the same thing (idea)” 6 yr old.
Both the period character and historian or archaeologist have virtues. For academic stretch consider the Historian. For depth within a focused topic the period costumed character.