My wife, Patty,
wearing her new paletot
This year the plan is to have two meetings for our civilians, and the first one was held in this very snowy month of February.
The point of the meetings are three-fold:
1) A chance to wear our period clothing in the winter time when nothing (or very little) else is going on in the living history world, at least in this cold north country.
2) Learning to improve our personal experience in our time-travel endeavors as well as learning how to improve our presentations for the public.
3) To keep the momentum going that had taken hold in December and to build on that momentum.
There is a fourth reason, by the way: because it's a great excuse to see friends you haven't seen in a while.
The subject matter wasn't new to my meetings: immersion and bringing the past to life has been the topic of discussion for a number of years now, and I'm finding that the more we teach and learn, the better we become.
And yet we still have a long way to go.
But what a journey!
I'm not going to get into the whats and wherefores of immersion, for I wrote about that HERE. I would just like to reiterate that learning of the time period you pertain to be in during a reenactment is every bit as important as the accuracy of your clothing. For what good is perfect-to-a-"T" period clothing if your historical knowledge is no better than the typical Hollywood historian or worse?
We, as living historians, need to spend more time involved in social history research. That really is the only way to teach the whole story as well as to have one feel like they have traveled through time. In fact, since there is so much more to learn about in the everyday life of the mid-19th century, I will venture to say that we need to make the study of social history a top priority.
This is one of the things that I imparted on our membership, and they responded very enthusiastically, pulling together to come up with numerous ways to improve our future past endeavors for this coming season.
And, no, not all of our events will be immersion.
So I'd like to share a few of the meeting photographs with you.
I hope you enjoy them.
|Kristen poses pensively.|
|Dave tells of his experiences in the world of living history. Our meetings are not one person speaks and all others listen. We encourage everyone to participate and share their knowledge and experiences.|
|After the meeting, a few members remained on for a bit - sort of like an afterglow. It was not even planned that way; just a couple folks that stayed after the meeting had ended, and we had a fine visit in the midst of a period setting...|
|...not 'full' immersion, mind you. But the atmosphere of an oil lamp and candle lit room filled with antique furniture can really set a mood, especially if there are a few folks wearing period clothing.|
|I was happy that Kristen was willing to pose for me in this manner during the afterglow.|
And there you have it. It was quite an enjoyable day for all who attended.
I plan to have another period-dress civilian meeting in the near future - definitely before the actual season begins in the later spring, probably sometime in March. When that happens, I hope to do an actual immersion workshop to where we can actively work on how to get into the mindset of 'being there.'.
Yeah...I must say, I do appreciate the civilian members of the 21st Michigan (and a few from other local units as well) and their want to raise the living history bar higher each year. For without them...well...you know...
Remember the momentum I spoke of at the top of this article? These next couple of photos will show you exactly what I mean of immersion in action:
Here is another photo that was taken at the same event as the picture directly above. Once again, this unposed picture shows 19th century life during our 1863 Christmas Eve celebration while we were in the parlor and I was reading aloud from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Just as the above photo, it did not matter whether there were visitors to see or hear this or not: as far as we were concerned, it was only us, and because we continued this immersion non-stop, I feel we actually were back 'there' in 1863.
Doing living history/immersion at Christmas at the Fort is truly one of our reenacting year's highlights. If you are interested in this particular event please click HERE to read more about how we brought days of Christmas past to life through immersion.
Well, my friends, until next time - God Be With You and I hope to see you in days of future past.
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Hey! Did you know I had a table of contents for Passion for the Past? Yup - sure do! Just click HERE to check it out!