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Thread: Maybe This is the Uptick?

  1. #21
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Weaver View Post
    I don't think Civil War reenacting is going to disappear, or reenactors become like the mythical Dodo bird. The current reenacting climate really encourages a highly individualistic reenacting style. There are people recreating 17th century Cossacks, for goodness sake, just for the sake of recreating them. So there are going to be ACW reenactors, just possibly not as many of them. Or as many in one place. Did we miss something? Is there something that we should have done differently? In group dynamics, it's very hard to join an existing group and feel like you fit in. Yet our hobby historically has been structured around groups and joining groups. Is there a structure out there on the horizon that works better than the "company" or "mess?"
    Concur. Tastes for something different are out there and the mainstream hobby is not fulfilling the desires of some types of folks. I think we'll see more people moving steadily away from the group-oriented side of the hobby to one that places more emphasis on, as you termed it, an individualistic style.

    Case in point, I ran into two guys at Manassas NBP doing living history separate from several other groups doing LH elsewhere on the battlefield. Why were they separate from the other living historians, I asked? "Our unit didn't fight on that part of the battlefield." Well, that made sense. Both were former members of a group that's now in steep decline, but neither seemed interested in joining another group and confronting the same old bugaboo of "unit politics". One said he was simply tired of "playing soldier". He's a veteran, served in the "real" military, and just didn't feel like being ordered around anymore even if it was just play acting and for "fun". They said that for thematic reasons, they're just a couple of stragglers one the march. Well, that made sense to me.

    Another example... I recently ran into a guy at Gettysburg walking the battlefield with his musket on his shoulder all by himself. He wasn't part of the park LH going on at Pitzer's Woods or at the PA Monument, just one guy who set off on a solo hike. He said he couldn't get the guys in his unit to do "cool stuff" like re-trace the footsteps of their original unit, so he decided to do it himself alone. He said if someone asked him what he was doing, he responded that it was a "personal commemoration". I was reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said while studying a model of the proposed Monitor: "All I can say is what the girl said when she put her foot in the stocking. It strikes me there's something in it."

    Will this sort of individualistic stuff catch on? Don't know, but if activities are any indication, I'd say yes, to a certain degree. People ski, skate, ride bikes, take hikes, climb mountains, go boating, all stuff that can be done as either part of a larger event or by yourself or with just a small group of friends. Reenacting should be no different. Perhaps the solo and micro-event reenactors are just now emerging in enough numbers to start to be noticed.
    Phil Lundie
    Purveyor of fine iron apparel for tree trunks.

    I shall move from Chattanooga when the Lieutenant-General orders me; ready or not ready. And if you don't have my army supplied, and keep it supplied, we'll eat your mules up, sir. General William Tecumseh Sherman to the Quartermaster in Nashville. 1864

  2. #22

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    Hallo!

    Hmmmm.

    This is sounding eerily familiar, harkening back to the Rise and Fall of the Authenticity Movement 1998-2002, where (some) groups declined and the birth of the more "authentic" Individual evolved with EBUFU Impressions du Jour, er Event at best served by ad hoc forming and dissolving messes, companies, and battalions?



    Curt
    Maximum of Four Emoticon Mess
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  3. #23
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    Indianapolis
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    The 49th Indiana has grown steadily in numbers since 2006 when I joined. Back then if we had 10 soldiers at an event that was considered a good turnout. At GB GAC we had 30 registered, and that did not include a few that only attended the BGA event instead. I put this growth down to simple marketing - at every event we have a booth with materials and someone to interact with the public and answer questions. I see many units that don't seem very interested with interacting with the public (not unfriendly, of course, just content to huddle around the campfire and wait for a spectator to approach them). I think in general the hobby does a poor job of selling itself.
    Scott Lawalin
    Pvt., 49th Indiana

    "You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; [then] beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." - General Sir James Napier

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshman15 View Post
    The 49th Indiana has grown steadily in numbers since 2006 when I joined. Back then if we had 10 soldiers at an event that was considered a good turnout. At GB GAC we had 30 registered, and that did not include a few that only attended the BGA event instead. I put this growth down to simple marketing - at every event we have a booth with materials and someone to interact with the public and answer questions. I see many units that don't seem very interested with interacting with the public (not unfriendly, of course, just content to huddle around the campfire and wait for a spectator to approach them). I think in general the hobby does a poor job of selling itself.
    Well, that is true. You have to want to participate pretty badly to "get started." There are posts on this forum all the time about looking for a unit in _________ (fill in the blank). This is a while back, but the Gazette used to have "units" listed by state and US or CS. This would probably be the Nicky Hughes-era. It is how I found that bunch of knuckleheads like Todd Watts in the 9th KY when I moved to TN from Virginia. Todd and I actually corresponded for months by email about Enfields before I moved and we participated in the same unit in TN for at least six months before we figured we knew each other. Kind of funny. I was flapping my jaws about the Lorenz around the campfire at Resaca in 2004 or 2005 and Watts looks puzzled (not unusual) and says "Who are you?"

    We (as a hobby) do not have a good recruiting process as far as matching up interested parties with groups.
    Last edited by Craig L Barry; 09-05-2013 at 09:12 AM.
    Craig L Barry

    Author: The Civil War Musket: A Handbook for Historical Accuracy

  5. #25
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    May 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshman15 View Post
    The 49th Indiana has grown steadily in numbers since 2006 when I joined. Back then if we had 10 soldiers at an event that was considered a good turnout. At GB GAC we had 30 registered, and that did not include a few that only attended the BGA event instead. I put this growth down to simple marketing - at every event we have a booth with materials and someone to interact with the public and answer questions. I see many units that don't seem very interested with interacting with the public (not unfriendly, of course, just content to huddle around the campfire and wait for a spectator to approach them). I think in general the hobby does a poor job of selling itself.
    I agree. The way I found the 3rd US was at a local museum where they made sure to have leaflets. It's all about reaching out to the public.
    Respectfully,
    Kevin Franklin
    3rd US, Co K

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by kfrankli View Post
    I agree. The way I found the 3rd US was at a local museum where they made sure to have leaflets. It's all about reaching out to the public.
    ... you know, that's a **** fine idea. Never thought about having pamphlets at the local museums.
    Eugene Yeo
    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues." - Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax"

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Will this sort of individualistic stuff catch on? Don't know, but if activities are any indication, I'd say yes, to a certain degree. People ski, skate, ride bikes, take hikes, climb mountains, go boating, all stuff that can be done as either part of a larger event or by yourself or with just a small group of friends. Reenacting should be no different. Perhaps the solo and micro-event reenactors are just now emerging in enough numbers to start to be noticed.
    I guess there are always going to be folks who want to do things alone, but to me, if it's fun to do alone it's even more fun to do things with other people!

    I enjoy shooting by myself. But it's even more fun to get together with my N-SSA team and shoot as a team! I do medieval reenacting. You can do it by yourself, and I've done solo impressions before, but it's even more fun to get with groups of like-minded people.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Kentucky
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig L Barry View Post
    Well, that is true. You have to want to participate pretty badly to "get started." There are posts on this forum all the time about looking for a unit in _________ (fill in the blank). This is a while back, but the Gazette used to have "units" listed by state and US or CS. This would probably be the Nicky Hughes-era. It is how I found that bunch of knuckleheads like Todd Watts in the 9th KY when I moved to TN from Virginia. Todd and I actually corresponded for months by email about Enfields before I moved and we participated in the same unit in TN for at least six months before we figured we knew each other. Kind of funny. I was flapping my jaws about the Lorenz around the campfire at Resaca in 2004 or 2005 and Watts looks puzzled (not unusual) and says "Who are you?"

    We (as a hobby) do not have a good recruiting process as far as matching up interested parties with groups.



    Craig

    I agree with your statement as a Hobby we don't do a good job. The problem is we as a Hobby, have so many different approaches to the Hobby itself. Myself I consider a MS, even though my kit, plunder, would hold up with any. We have MS, Progressive, CPH, Living History, and last but not least Civilian. Each one brings something special to the Hobby. Often one wing will use their method at the expense of another. A person with a Family experience in mind, may not be happy in the CPH approach or the level and expense it takes to get there. Honesty in recruiting, with ones method/approach to the Hobby along with Unit expectations (standards) I think is key to retaining the newbie. To sale a product is one thing, to carry a person on the Roster that never shows up is another. We all know Unit's with a hundred on the roster with maybe 15 or 20 showing up, if your lucky.

    Always

    Doug Thomas
    Lyons Battery CS
    Kentucky
    Holding on the High ground

  9. #29
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    May 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by One is the Left! View Post
    ... you know, that's a **** fine idea. Never thought about having pamphlets at the local museums.
    I should note they joke that I am the only person that worked on. Apparently normally they get people by talking to them at events, during which they make sure to hand them a leaflet. The also get the museums to agree to hosting the flyers by doing living history event in return.
    Respectfully,
    Kevin Franklin
    3rd US, Co K

  10. #30
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    Honesty in recruiting, with ones method/approach to the Hobby along with Unit expectations (standards) I think is key to retaining the newbie. To sale a product is one thing, to carry a person on the Roster that never shows up is another. We all know Unit's with a hundred on the roster with maybe 15 or 20 showing up, if your lucky.
    Maybe "the hobby" needs to employ the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to figure out what people fit best in which unit.
    Last edited by Che; 09-05-2013 at 07:42 PM.
    - Ernesto Serna

    "...I'm struck by the contradiction at the core of Civil War reenacting. On the surface it's a hyper-macho hobby, focused on guns and battle. But the longer I hang out with hardcores ... the more they remind me of supermodels, chatting endlessly about their jackets and shoes and hair and how many pounds they've lost since the last event." - Tony Horwitz

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