No matter which side of a reenactment you find yourself on, host site or participant, reenacting events can be a strange and difficult experience. Reenactors often think historic sites should be begging them to come and bring the place alive. For historic sites it’s tempting to believe reenactments are plug-and-play events – that reenactors come already informed, uniformed, and ready to talk to the public.
Both both sides often find themselves sadly disappointed.
It can be challenging to navigate the site-reenactor relationship. In part because helpful resources can be difficult to find. A recent addition to the museum-reenacting conversation is the reenacting resource packet, “Reenactors at Your Historic Site” at Sustaining Places: Resources for Small Museums and Historic Sites. It brings together a broad range of essays in one handy, shareable, and free document.
I’m honored that an article I wrote for the 2010 ALHFAM Bulletin, “Reenactors in the House: Planning the Big Event” was included among the essays.
With articles from museum people and reenactors (and many who are both), there’s a lot there to help improve events for everyone. Even the public.