Sunday, August 19, 2012

Local LH?

Today I attended Hillsboro, New Hampshire's Living History Event. I found out about it because it comes up toward the top in a Google search of "living history." I did not know about it because I live less than an hour away, nor because I am connected to the local LH community. The truth is, I am not connected to the local community. My LH community consist of those folks I've met through the Connecticut Renaissance Faire or Reenactorfest, and to confound that I don't do wars or typical American history. It just has not turned out that way. But there are local folks doing this history thing and in a time period a little more accessible than the 15th century. So I went to Hillsboro hoping to pick up something for my kit, learn local history, and possibly make some connections.

I sabotaged myself by arriving late and not having exact directions so I was anxious and self conscious by the time I arrived. The woman who sold me the ticket assured me that the reenactors at their encampment would stick around after 3 pm and I chose to believe her rather than trust my own experience which said that they all had to go to work on Monday and would pack up early. I stopped by the encampment, drove over to the Franklin Pierce Homestead for a quick tour, found my way to the lovely original town center, then trotted back to the encampment to discover the site covered in cars and half the tents already down by 3:30. In the little time I had I did get something out of the trip.

I went in intending to chat up the Rev War folks, in their encampment but the first person who acknowledged my existence was wearing Nike sandals with her colonial skirt and short gown. The next group had a good looking set up, but the cheese on their plate was still in its Stop & Shop wrapper, and their fruit was covered in stickers. I try not to be judgemental, I know we all do it for different reasons, but really, can't you at least remove the plastic? I did get up the gumption to ask one person where they were based, I think the guy was disappointed that I did not ask him a question about history, I'm just not that interested in warfare. He did answer me, it turns out he is from one town away from where I live. Why did I not ask any follow-up questions? I don't know, I just did not feel right.

I did manage to add to my kit. There is a pewterer (pewter smith?) in Hilsboro who had awesome spoons at reasonable prices. After 3 years, the Reischachs will finally have decent spoons! I saw a lovely local town that I had driven through many times but not actually seen, and at the very end I got to chat with someone who will hopefully be of great help in the chicken project.

So in the end I had a good day, but please people, remove the stickers from your apples. Read this entry on entry page

Friday, August 10, 2012

Death of a Podcast

The Living History Podcast is dead, long live the Living History Podcast.

Stephen and I love living history, we've been involved for ages and plan to be for the rest of our lives. But the ways we approach history, and LH change with time.

Over three years ago we thought a good way to connect might be to put out a podcast, focusing on the issues and topics that would be of interest no matter what time period one happened to be interested in. We purchased a domain name, some server space and some microphones, came up with a list of topics, then got all our friends to listen to our first attempts at podcasting before launching the podcast in December of 2009. We actually kept it up fairly well with only a few interruptions until July of last year. We made a few friends through the podcast, but we never reached large audiences. We needed to set aside time each week for the two of us to sit down together to plan, rehearse and record, and while that was a bit of a strain, it was not a bother when we had something to say.

But we still have things to say! We still are very involved in LH, and looking for ways to continue to reach out. Why exactly did we stop recording the podcast? Why did we let the domain expire and the web hosting lapse? I guess we both lost interest in the medium. We were not reaching the amount of people we wanted to, the feedback was not worth the effort anymore.

Now we've got to think of a new way to reach out to the LH community, because we are both still convinced that there is one, and that we could all benefit from more sharing amongst us.

Read this entry on entry page

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Power of Suggestion

When school was still in session I ran a number of Strawbery Banke workshops on the topic of Archaeology. One of the locations the school kids and I visited during the workshop was the back yard of the Rider-Wood house, where we could talk about Widow Mary Rider and how we could learn about her life. In the back yard there are some bushes, plants, the back door step, and a recreated outbuilding. Half of the outbuilding might be a wood shed, or some other type of storage, that part does not really matter because the other half is a re-created privy. It is a multi-holer, some covered over, some just a hole into the darkness below. I always send the kids in and tell them they will have to tell me what the building is used for when they come back out. The usual reaction is that the kids jump up from where I've made them sit and they rush into the building, bottleneck at the door, and as some of them get their first glimpses the shrieks and the moans start. At least a few dramatic 4th graders will even come out holding their noses. They all tell me that it smells horrible in there.

The funny thing does not smell horrible in Mary Rider's Privy. The thing is a small wooden shed that has never actually been used (to my knowledge.) It smells like wooden shed. I've been in there many times to check after the kids have come out, it does not matter whether the day is hot or cold, it smells like unused building. I could never convince the kids of that though. Read this entry on entry page