Tom ‘Tank’ Baird is an avocational archaeologist and local historian with Northcentral Chapter 8,of the Society for PA Archaeology. His presence helped the little archaeology chapter come back to life. He became president, and served for several years in that role, before accepting the vice president title when his tenure ended. He serves in both roles, depending upon the decade.
He’s introduced a lot of people to archaeology during the past ten years, as he became an avocational archaeologist, himself.
He’s self-taught and spends much of his free time reading about prehistoric cultures in the Northeast, visiting museums and archaeology sites, and absorbing everything. That’s the difference between passion and interest. Tank doesn’t wait for an invitation. He seizes opportunities to learn with both hands and relishes everything.
He’s become a local expert in just a few years, because his passion is genuine. He’s made many new friends because of it, and he knew what he was going to be doing when he finally retired: even more archaeology and more presentations.
He gives Scouts and college groups tours at the local dig site, he goes to schools to talk, and he is a frequent guests on the rubber-chicken circuit, chatting at the VFWs, the Rotary Clubs, the Masons, the Moose, and more, telling anyone who will listen about local prehistory.
Tank is a frequent guest on Ted Saul’s “Sunday Morning Magazine” talk show, speaking about Indians and significant local historic events.
Tank has many legacies but he’s most proud of the fact that he’s been a part of several PBS documentaries, sharing his stories about Indians in the West Branch Valley.
He’s also proud of the rare, priceless human face effigy he was able to purchased from a local collector, placing it in the local museum, and ensuring it will remain protected and a part of NCC8’s public educational outreach for a long time. He’s added many more items of interest to his collection and has become a professional artifact collector.