7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Playing Dress Up. Reenacting History.

One of my favorite ways to research a setting is visiting an historic site. While there, we all have access to seeing how a certain culture in specific decades or centuries lived and worked. Probably two of the most well-known on the east coast are Colonial Williamsburg and Old Sturbridge Village.
I can’t imagine a better place to immerse yourself in Colonial history than a visit to Williamsburg. This is the real deal. Not a re-created village but the original site and populated with hundreds of staff that take their history VERY seriously.

But large sites and museums are not the only way to experience history thanks to the thousands of people in the United States and Canada that do reenactments. One perfect example was the incredible influx of Civil War Reenactors to Gettysburg at the beginning of the month to mark the 150th anniversay of those three bloody days in U.S. History.

I imagine that any reader of Colonial Quills, whether contributor, commenter or lurker, has been to a historic site in their area or while traveling. So... do tell!
Many of the people you meet at museums and historic sites are paid staff, some are volunteers. During a specific reenactment event, you can meet hundreds of people who simply want to be involved just for the love of history!

There is a definite cost to “play”dress-up! Hundreds of dollars for uniforms and accoutrements of war if you are involved in a military group. (an authentic musket may cost nearly a thousand dollars!) Yet, the largest presence of reenactors at any historical event, be it French/Indian, Colonial, Revolutionary, War of 1812 and more recent, are military "regiments".

Sometimes events are cultural, like the many Celtic/Highland gatherings across the continent. Full Highland regalia is not cheap!

Next month, I’m going to participate, in costume, in the largest War of 1812 reenactment gatherings in North America when Fort Erie, in Ontario, Canada, does their annual “Seige of  Fort Erie”. Given the fact we are at the 200th anniversary, this promises to be completely amazing! I won't be part of any group, but last year when I attended, I found I was in the minority by not being in costume.  YES I PROMISE PHOTOS!

Tell me, what are your favorite living history sites?

Have you visited smaller sites during “re-enactments”?

Are you or would you like to take part in some way?


  1. wow, Deb that should be awesome! Can't wait to see your pics from the reenactment. We live in the Historic Triangle so I can go to the 18th century any day of the week! I have attended various reenactments throughout the country, some by chance. I love Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinac City Michigan and the fort on Mackinac Isand, too. Both are by the water so the views of the gorgeous lakes really adds so much to the experience.

  2. Thanks Carrie. You will also see one of my 1812 dresses at the ACFW conference. I will definitely have photos.

    You are in an amazing area for history. We have quite a bit in upstate NY as Kathy and Pat will agree. It confirms my idea that playing dress up is something we never outgrow!

    I've got a crazy day today (I'm at work right now...) so I'll be checking in on and off and catch up over the weekend.

    I hope to hear of some new history sites I can add to my travels!
    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  3. Living in Williamsburg and near to Yorktown and Jamestown is great fun as Carrie mentioned. My first experience of a "living" historical experience was decades ago at Wakefield, George Washington's birthplace in the northern neck of VA.
    Prior to that I was familiar with "docents" dressed in the correct clothes of the era, but addressing me like a teacher. "Living history" folks are never out of character. Admittedly, when I'm next in line at Lowe's to George Washington or Patrick Henry and we're both just buy garden supplies they let their hair down as it were. It's great fun.


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