Friday, January 16, 2015

Period Fun During the Off Season: Another "Night at the Museum" Party, a Visit to Burger King in Period Clothes, and American Girl Dolls Come to Life

Abigail Adams
Do you remember the posting I wrote a while back about how a few of us participate every-so-often in a fun little bit of living history called "A Night at the Museum"?
This is where "children can experience a birthday party they will never forget. Plymouth Historical Museum staff, inspired by the movies of the same name, created this magical evening, where children discover that the characters within the Museum come alive after hours.
The Museum is filled with reenactors silently waiting for the kids to bring them to life with the tablet. Kids could discover a Roman soldier dressed in full battle gear or Civil War soldiers preparing for war, or women wearing big hoop skirts and fancy dresses. 
Anyone can be discovered at the Museum, and children will enjoy the living history. Each character chats with the kids about a slice of history so children might learn a thing or two while they are having fun at the party."
 A Night at the Museum parties are always great fun to do, especially during this bitter cold time of year, for there are so few opportunities to wear period clothing in winter.
On this latest "Night" party, I portrayed Paul Revere, just as I did the last time.
Abigail Adams & Paul Revere
As Paul Revere, I began my presentation by shouting, "TO ARMS! TO ARMS! THE REGULARS ARE COMING!! THE REGULARS ARE COMING!!" as if I was snapped right out of my midnight ride of April 18, 1775 and brought to January 10, 2015, which is kind of supposed to be what happens. I then began to speak about the major highlights of my life as if I actually was Mr. Revere - just a real quickie overview, enough to cover five minutes or so - and I included the most note-worthiest of items such as my being a silversmith, my involvement in the Sons of Liberty, the warning lanterns in the Old North Church, how I borrowed a horse to warn the patriots throughout the countryside, how I got captured only to be set free a while later, and how I made it back to Lexington to witness the end of that battle.
I have to be honest, I really enjoy portraying Paul Revere and love the idea of sharing some of our founding patriot's history to people, especially kids. I may expand on this a bit for future historical presentation endeavors. history for kids really is a lot of fun.
And I was pleasantly surprised on this night at how many of the ten year old boys had some idea who Paul Revere actually was. They did better than many adults do.
A Civil War soldier and some new recruits
A Civil War spy
One would never know…
There were other living historians portraying folks in history at the museum on this night: we had Michigan Senator Jacob Howard (who had a hand in drafting and passing the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution abolishing slavery), a Civil War Soldier (who marched and drilled the boys as newly recruited soldiers), Abigail Adams (wife and close confidant of our 2nd President), a female Civil War spy, and even a woman who wore a bathing costume of the 1860s, amongst a few others.
Anyhow, after A Night at the Museum was over, a few of us went to the local Burger King fast food restaurant while still in our period clothing to get some fast food: Abigail Adams & Paul Revere (me!) and the Civil War soldier & Civil War female spy.
(Not sure if Paul Revere would be going anyplace where there is a king, but...)
When we walked into the restaurant, the workers just looked at us like “who are you and what is going on?” so I asked the girl at the register, 
“Quickly! What year is this?” 
The one girl behind the counter fumbled for a moment then answered with, “1934.” 
***Really? 1934??***
So I went with it and looked at Jim the Civil War soldier and exclaimed, “We did it! Our time travel experiment worked!” 
The workers just stared at us like we were from another planet.
We then laughed and asked them if they knew what year we represented. Our hopes were that they saw two colonials and two Civil War folk. 
Again we heard “1934?” 
As well as, “1890?”
The workers just couldn’t get it right:
Then someone, looking at Jim, said, "World War II?"
World War II?!?!?!

I then said, "Look, if you can't guess the period in history we're from, we get free food."
The girl called her boss out. He looked at us and said, "Are you from 1550?"
Finally, a frustrated customer yelled out at them, “What school did you all go to? Those two are from the Revolutionary War, and the other two are from the Civil War!”
Well, it's about time! 
We laughed about it - we had to, for the lack of historical knowledge was befuddling - better to laugh than to cry, right?.
And who knows, maybe they even learned something. 
So...when they took my order and asked for my name, I told them (of course) Paul Revere. Now, look at the name on the receipt pictures right. Ha! You see it?
Yep! There "I" am!
Who ever said history was boring never hung out with us!

(If you are interested in reading a more detailed account of a previous Night at the Museum party, click HERE )
The participants for "A Night at the Museum" on January 10, 2015: a smorgasbord of history.

Speaking of having fun with history, check out this You Tube clip of living, breathing American Girl dolls. For me it was a hilarious laugh-out-loud tongue-in-cheek bit of a historical fun moment.

See you all next time in time - - - - - - -



Alena said...

Your experience at Burger King sounds oh, so familiar. I wrote about a couple of my experiences like that here: but I wanted to share one more. I was attending a costume party so I wore a 1950s sundress, nylons, high heels, a scarf in my hair, driving gloves. When I walked in one of the other guests said: "ooh a Victorian lady!" I was in a little sun dress and heels, I really have no idea how she got to Victorian.

Historical Ken said...

You comment made my wife and I laugh out loud!
Thanks for sharing and I will be checking out your other stories.
Thanks for posting!

Historical Ken said...

By the way, Alena, I love your "I Am Living History" blog.