West Liberty University Professor Darrin Cox loves teaching history to his students. He finds that hands-on history is especially fascinating to just about everyone. That’s why he’s spent five years working on a project that brings the age of the Vikings to life.

Professor Cox is shown with history major and WLU graduate Bryce Negie, as young students look on.

Professor Cox (left) is shown with history major, WLU graduate Bryce Negie, as grade school students look on.

“My Viking Living History Project began as a research endeavor. But it’s become a highly effective teaching tool. Students of all ages love to learn through history demonstrations that bring it all into real time,” Cox said.

Originally from Kingwood, W.Va., he’s been with West Liberty University for five years now, where he is an associate professor of history. He earned his undergraduate and master degrees at West Virginia University and his doctoral degree at Purdue University.

“My program is like a traveling history lesson that looks closely at the era dating to 793-1066, the time of the Vikings. Costumes, tools, weapons and social history from this period offers colorful story and encourages students to treat history as a dynamic subject rather than just a dry book,” he said.

He has about 12 college students involved in presenting the Viking experience to groups.  Most of the West Liberty students who assist Cox major in the liberal arts, social studies, education, history and criminal justice.

Viking costume

Professor Darrin Cox in Viking garb.

“They enjoy the teaching programs as much as I do,” he said.

His next presentation will be at a Woodsdale elementary school when he introduces students in K-5 to his living history program on Friday, March 15. Students will learn how to make armor and more.

Cox also will be a keynote speaker and have his WLU Viking history team at West Virginia Northern Community College on April 10, when the group will present a Viking demonstration as part of the Wheeling Regional Pre-Modern Symposium, an interdisciplinary conference that brings together literature, history, art and culture and held in conjunction with Wheeling Jesuit University and WVNCC.

Cox also is the author of the book, “Aristocratic Masculinity in France, 1450-1550.”

As a member of the history department at WLU, he is part of the College of Liberal Arts, which includes 16 faculty members from seven academic disciplines that also includes: criminal justice, geography, political science, psychology, social work and sociology.

West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education. Established as West Liberty Academy in 1837, it is led by President Robin C. Capehart and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more information on the Viking Living History Project, please contact Cox at 304-336-8087 or [email protected]. For more information on WLU, please visit www.westliberty.edu or call 1.866.WESTLIB.