Good for you keep it up if you still can.
Good for you keep it up if you still can.
You know, if I look at things from your perspective, I'm not missing much at all while I'm down here in Australia(see earlier post). We try to do really good living history, most of the time with 6-10 guys. We read, research, and look at photos. We decided several years ago that we'd rather do it right with 3 guys, than do it wrong with 300. And yes, there is a mainstream faction here too.
Those who think the hobby is in decline are right....If they're talking about the mainstream hobby as a whole. The last National Event I attended in the States was back in 99, and it was a circus. But every National event I ever attended was, because no matter what they say, they never enforce any authenticity standards. Most of the few smaller mainstream events I attended after that were too. Numbers are down in 2012, and so are quality. But was it ever really there, from a realistic point of view? But from what I hear and read, progressive events are doing well. Maybe I'm wrong judging it from thousands of miles away, but seems to me the quality of the events being put on by the "7%ers" is pretty good. Like it or not, quality beats quantity every time. I'm itchin to get back and attend some of those events before I'm REALLY too old.
By the time the 150ths finish up, I plan to travel more often to attend smaller immersion events. And perhaps look into switching up my impression in favor of a more challenging role.
Our event went this way. We rented the Carriage House of the Brafferton. We were there with our Grandaughters to show where Grandpa had served. In the garden, the Hintzen's met the Trents. Mr. Trent had served in the 8th Ohio and Mr. Hintzen in the 12th NJ. After some conversation we decided to have dinner together and take a carriage out to our respective monuments the following morning. We had traveled to Gettysburg to see our monuments which had been placed earlier in the year. After placing flowers at the monuments the following day, we had a picnic at Ziegler's grove. By coincidence Mrs. Trent and Mr. Hintzen had the same occupation
selling sewing machines but of different manufacturers. Of course each one thought that their product was the best. We met up with Mr. Bordonaro and Mr. Briggs both of whom had served in the war, so we all got together to have evening entertainment in the parlor of the Brafferton. Fortunately, Mr. Trent had his new camera with him so we were able to capture pictures of our trip to Gettysburg.
I could be wrong, but my guess is a lot of people have too much of themselves invested in the hobby to ever leave for long.
What if such a person were to wear not just a GAR pin, but also put on a simulated (or God forbid) a real CMOH? I could see big trouble, lawsuits and a LOT of bad publicity coming from something like that. Its bad enough that the GAR membership badge can easily be mistaken for the CW MoH.
My advice is don't do anything like this without it being part of a NPS program, even if its just a program of one guy.
Last edited by Wounded_Zouave; 07-16-2012 at 11:11 PM.
I really don't get the point of it. What was the purpose, other than to dress up for each other and play to each other? I'm sure the public saw you at some point and asked questions and I'm sure they were politely answered, but it all seems like a group of actors alone on stage playing to themselves. Without an audience, it just seems so bloodless and like a dead-end that goes no where and serves no purpose.
It may have been fine for you, but I really don't think this type of internalized event is going to appeal to most reenactors who want to transition into portrayals of veterans. They will want to do it for themselves, yes.... but having a formallized event in front of the public, like a reenactment or a living history program, is what most of us are used to. I could see myself dressing as veteran and maybe retracing the footsteps of a unit from point (a) to point (b), but only as part of an NPS LH program with a schedule and give the public something to see and think about.
Last edited by Wounded_Zouave; 07-16-2012 at 11:16 PM.
It has been my experience of the NPS that they are open and supportive of living historians, if they know you, have seen you in the field, you approach them and discuss what you'd like to do in advance, and it fits within their goals for their park. Even civilian first person.
Clearly, you and I differ about the utility of first person interpretation. If you haven't already discovered the work of Freeman Tillman (many titles) and Stacy Roth ("Past into Present"), I highly recommend their work.
As a child, on family vacations, my parents took us to many, many national parks. I'd seen lots of costumed interpreters doing third person interpretation, and attended oodles of NPS ranger talks. But it was the first person interpreter at Appomattox who stuck in my head. No introduction, no NPS staff, interacting with the public in first person all by himself along a fence row. He was dressed as a Union soldier, was happy to talk to us, but never broke first person. I wondered for a long time if he really was a Time traveler.
I remember him to this day and how he set my imagination on fire to know more about the Civil War and especially Appomattox.
I can only hope that I'll have half his impact on the children I meet in first person.
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
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