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netnet81
11-07-2006, 11:25 PM
Elizabeth had asked for an AAR on our recent Henkel Square event in Round Top Texas, a town of about 88 people. Henkel Square is a "pioneer village museum" with structures mostly built prior to 1860. The houses are situated in a park-like setting. There were several modern intrusions, but I think most of us managed to ignore them. We were allowed to occupy the houses and use the furnishings in the houses. All but two had working fireplaces; several had multiple fireplaces. We had enough structures and beds to accomodate all of our participants, about 25 of us. This was the first such event for the majority of the participants. I was lucky enough to have Vicki Betts with me in my house. My husband was the Justice of the Peace and Vicki was a boarder from Chappell Hill (not far from Round Top) who had rented out her farm to refugees from Louisiana. Also at my house were cousins visiting on their way to the Houston area. As we had a large detached kitchen we also had some additional guests at meals.

The event officially started at 7:00 am. Between preparing meals, cleaning up, a Ladies Aide Society meeting and visiting the different families, Saturday was a fairly full day. Sunday only had a church service planned and much more relaxed. Our household did a pretty good job of maintaining the period. We had two very experienced reenactors, one being Ms. Betts, the other Mr. Hal Simon from Dallas; these two really held the weekend together.

The few public visitors were had enjoyed the interaction once they got over their surprise. I believe all the participants had a good time and most have requested the event to be held again. The site is very eager to have us again. I believe that with more practice that first person can be maintained on a more constant level. But all in all, I believe the event was a success considering it was our first.

NoahBriggs
11-08-2006, 07:50 AM
Sounds good. Please regale us with some background - the event, what were the goals, whether they were acheived and if any money went to preservation, &c.

ElizabethClark
11-08-2006, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the update, Annette! With this weekend going so well, do you think the site would be amenable to longer events in the future?

netnet81
11-08-2006, 11:41 AM
The goal of the event was to a civilian heavy, semi-immersion Civil War event in Texas. We don’t have these kinds of events in Texas; mostly the typical battle and ball with no civilian activities other than perhaps a tea. We also thought it was important for the military members to understand the civilian side of the time. The weekend was completely unscripted other than the Ladies’ Aid meeting and church service. Participants portrayed citizens of Fayette County, Texas in November 1862 and Henkel Square became a generic Fayette County community. Setting the event at this time meant that Galveston had just been occupied but the effects of the blockade may not yet have been felt. Most participants developed particular impressions; we had a doctor, sheriff, tailor, inn keeper, saw mill owner, and a few travelers stopping on their way somewhere else.

I think the goal of the event was met, even though we lost first person several times during the weekend. As this was the first for most participants, it was merely a chance to see if we could do it and if there was interest in something like this in Texas. So many of us read about the experiences y’all have in the east and up north and we wanted to try it. Most of the participants want to do this again. Now that they have experienced such an event I think more will be better prepared (including myself) for what such an event involves.

The site is very eager to have us back; they are willing to work with us for just about anything we would like to do out there. The question is are the participants willing to do it for a longer event :D . Our group has its annual meeting in January and this event and the relationship with the site will be discussed at that time. This event was not advertised as a public living history; we wanted to try this out first before involving the public. The site has requested that we allow them to advertise and involve the public in the next living history event there.

We did pay a small fee to the site, which will go to the foundation for the support of Henkel Square.

NoahBriggs
11-08-2006, 11:45 AM
:rolleyes: Ah, the Immersion Virus continues to spread. Can't imagine how. ;)

Infectious, is it not?

netnet81
11-08-2006, 12:03 PM
:rolleyes: Ah, the Immersion Virus continues to spread. Can't imagine how. ;)

Infectious, is it not?

Very! I hope this is the beginning of a trend. Even if we don't do full immersion every time but at least participate in more living history vs. the battle/ball things, I think it would be a positive direction.

NoahBriggs
11-08-2006, 12:56 PM
Small outbreaks are reported at every event, it seems.

Jokes aside - I am glad you all did what's called a carpe eventum - seize the event. Strictly speaking it means creating your own history-heavy event inside a regular B-Cubed event (beer, battle ball).

I think that the site's owners will definitely have you on their schedule next year.

Another way to improve your experience is to develop a micro economy - buy food or items for sale in advance of the event with the registration money and have those goods "for sale" purchased only with the period money made up in advance. Decide how much your family would have as a "budget" for that weekend, and have at it. Trade, steal, bargain, haggle, however you wish to engage in commerce.

You will keep the audience a-goggle for hours on end.

Edwin Carl Erwin
11-09-2006, 11:32 PM
Annette,

When was your civilian event? I just participated in the Texas 1863 weekend held at Henkel Square 27-29 October 2006. Represented were Confederate Infantry, Artillery, & Cavalry living historians from numerous reenacting units. About 400 school children visited Friday & Saturday was occupied interpreting for the public.

I spoke of Fayette County, her people that both fought in the Trans-Mississippi & kept the home fires burning. Everyone was keenly interested in seeing the portrait photo, muster roll records, & original musket that belonged to a farm boy of Fayette Co. The pupils were especially taken by the reproductions of war script currency issued by Fayette Co. during the war. Adults were more interested in the letter signed by several Fayette Co. residents requesting the Governor to release from military service an individual whose grain mill neighbors were relying on for making disposition of their crops.

There's always one child that unsuccessfully tries to talk you out of a percussion cap. Is this the same kid showing up at all living history interpretations? And 'no you can't hold the bayonet.'

We heard there was to be a Federal event at Henkel Square following ours. Perhaps civilian & military could have a comprehensive event in addition to the individual ones?

The Henkel Square site & staff are top shelf.

netnet81
11-11-2006, 10:06 AM
Annette,

When was your civilian event? I just participated in the Texas 1863 weekend held at Henkel Square 27-29 October 2006.

The Henkel Square site & staff are top shelf.

Our event was the weekend following, November 4-5. I knew y'all were out there, but as I was preparing for our event, I wasn't able to assist. Our group will discuss future Henkel Square events in January at our annual muster. I am hoping that we will be able to use the site again.