Living History

I found a great site on reenacting and living history. You can explore it yourself here:

And here is another good site:  (The Living History Association)

My programs at schools are divided into three sections: story-telling or presenting of information, show and tell session of items related to the program, and music. So many teachers have told me that these programs make history come alive for students. I hope teachers everywhere will take students to museums, to events, battle reenactments and will allow those who do the “living history” programs to come to their schools.  Here are some reasons living history is important for students and teachers:

1) It brings history to life. Before, they had only seen history in books or in movies. They will read history and watch movies differently and in a more educated manner.

2) Such programs address all the senses, thus insuring better retention of information and perceptions.

3) Even for teachers and students who know and love history, there will be something new learned or experienced.

4) They might become reenactors themselves. And it might be their door into the movies! I’m not kidding. Read this:

5) Many children love to “act.” This might provide them a chance to try on a persona or develop theatre skills.

6) After the program, students can explore many areas of the presentation or be led to study new topics using the school’s data base systems.

7) Programs enrich and develop vocabulary.

Here is a sample Civil War vocabulary list and some words I use in my program.

brogans – ugly shoes infantry wore
hardtack –  hard, flour and water crackers given to soldiers.
candle lantern –
kepi – small military cap
slouch hat –  cowboy style felt hat
Lucifers – matches
Lone Star – symbol of Texas
Pelican – symbol of Louisiana
minnie ball – Civil War bullet.
goober peas or goobers – peanuts. Southern soldiers wrote a song about them.
tintype – a type of small photograph taken during the Civil War and placed in a            folding,     decorated case.
cavalry – soldiers who rode horses
trim colors on uniforms indicated a soldier was:
1. infantry – blue
2. cavalry – yellow
3. artillery – red
haversack – cotton or canvas sack that soldiers wore over their shoulder and that carried     food and other personal items in.
reticule – small handbag
Jacob’s Ladder – a toy
snood – hair net ornament
hardtack – hard cracker made of flour and water that soldiers ate. The Navy called         them     “sea biscuits.”
Friendship Fan – Girls would write the name of their friends on the veins of their         fan.
Living History – participants try to portray people of the past.
Reenactment – a rehearsed or scripted battle or other historical event.
Canteen – for water