Friday, March 25, 2011

Civil War Candlelight Tour

Earlier this week my wife and I, along with our two youngest, went to a meeting at the Troy Historical Museum and Village. This open-air historical village includes (from their brochure): 10 historic structures in a charming two-acre village located in the heart of Troy, Michigan. Visitors can explore the lifestyles of the pioneers who established homes and farms in rural Troy during the 1800s'.

There were quite a few fellow living historians at this meeting as well. It was a "run-through meet-and-greet" meeting, for we will all be a part of the Civil War Candlelight Tour taking place on April 30. This is very exciting, for not only will this be one of the first reenactments of the 'season,' but we will be able to do our presentations while inside period homes. If you recall from previous postings of mine, portraying one from the past while in an authentic period structure is as exciting as Christmas morning to me!
Some of the historic structures inside the gates are a log cabin from 1840, a schoolhouse from 1877, a house from 1832, a wagon shop from 1872, a church from's really a wonderful collection of Troy's past
And we get to bring it to life!
Patty and I will be portraying a family living in the cabin, and she will demonstrate spinning on the spinning wheel, while I, as the postmaster, will speak of the importance of the mail to and from our boys in blue. Other living historians will include a grieving widow, a chaplain, a visit to the general store, a laundress, the Christian Commission, a blacksmith, a Michigan politician (Senator Jacob Howard), and even an insurance salesman.

The excitement we all felt after the meeting had ended was invigorating. We were all so pumped - the director had chosen folks who have a true passion for history, so the visitors who will come to see us will get a pretty darn accurate picture of the past!
And, to top it off, we were told to keep ourselves in a 1st person mode, stepping out of character only to answer questions that will require a 3rd person answer.
When I entered the reenacting 'hobby' years ago I had no idea how involved I would get; I never thought that it would engulf me in the way that it does. And when an opportunity arises for me to ditch the 21st century - even for the tumultuous times of the early 1860's - I grab it with both hands. Of course, it wouldn't be nearly what it is if it weren't for the wonderful people who partake in this excursion with me! fortuitous event occurs that
I consider myself blessed to be a part of a hobby (I still hate that word for what it is we do!) that allows me to "mind" travel as often as I do - sometimes even in my own home!

And, it's great to see the local museums utilizing reenactors and living historians in this way. As I have said many times before, having the opportunity to use period homes is as close to mind-travel/time-travel as one can get.

(all photos in this posting were taken at the Troy Historical Museum and Village)
The best part is this is only the beginning. Many more opportunities to travel 150 years in the past are waiting on the horizon.


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