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FAQS

A Guide to getting involved in the Guild

Why History?

History serves two purposes: To provide narrative entertainment and to record how people interacted and reacted to various situations. Narrative entertainment, or folklore, reveals how we view ourselves and our values. The record of events is the psychology of what people did, what worked, what didn’t, and why. History provides valuable lessons and warnings that, if followed, will direct us away from a disastrous path. These lessons cannot be derived from faulty data, propaganda, political considerations, or a driven agenda; to do so leads to a flawed understanding.

 

Who are “Living Historians?”

The term is applied to anyone who attempts to convey information about the past while dressed in period clothing. The term “re-enactor” is often used in place of living historian.

Re-enacting is a recreational pastime, carried on by individuals with an interest in history. Dressing in period clothing and engaging in period activities allows the re-enactors to “experience” the past.

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation gives people insight and understanding into the subject at hand. The National Association for Interpretation says the interpretation is a communication process which forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings in the resource.

 

What Does The Term “First Person” Mean?

First person refers to a technique where an interpreter takes on an historical persona (real or invented) and acts as if they were that person. A person in true first-person mode does not know anything about events or the world beyond their historical time frame. This would mean that all aspects of the 21st century would be alarming and disarming puzzlements –the very cameras and phones that the patrons want to photograph you with, to say nothing of the cars, buildings, and the clothing!

 

Patron, visitor, guests, or commoner? I have heard all of them!

We prefer to call the audience to our events like faire, Patrons. This is a very easy and simple term to remember.

What if I don’t know how to speak at faire?

That’s okay! We have a yearly training day, and we have packets to help you! Not to mention any of our members would be glad to help you!

 

Is historical accuracy, in costumes and accessories important?  Do the patrons really know the difference?

Let’s be honest, the public notices a job well done.  They notice authenticity.  They notice when something is wrong or half-assed.  They may not be able to put their finger on just what is right and what is wrong, but we have seen their ability to discern accuracy as opposed to inaccuracy. 

We like to tell people considering getting involved in the hobby that living history is a journey, not a destination.  You start with the broad strokes and foundational aspects and then you work on the finer details gaining skill with experience.  When it comes to how we present ourselves, the details of how we look, how we act, how we speak, and what we carry can have as much weight as the knowledge we share.  We can, through keeping historical accuracy in what we wear, how we act and speak, and the information we provide, help to shape people’s ideas of what the time and place we represent was like.

We will readily admit that there are costs, but then all hobbies have barriers to entry.  If you want to play golf you need to have a set of clubs or have someone who can lend you a set.  If you want to take up fishing seriously then you have to invest in rods, reels, tackle, lures, and possibly even a boat.  There are certain costs of being properly garbed but they are not insurmountable.  If you sew, there are patterns available that will give you the period look with varying degrees of accuracy.  If you don’t sew, there are merchants who can custom make clothing for you. 

 

Garb vs Costume. Which is right?

We avoid using the word costume in referring to living history. To the general public, this evokes association with Hollywood, theater, and Halloween. We tend to call it “Garb”.

Historically, the term costume was used widely in the 19th century to refer to an entire ensemble, head to toe, particularly in women’s fashion. We want to stress and impress to our patrons that we are the regular folk of the 16th, or early 17th, centuries.

Sometimes patrons will ask, “What’s with the funny/odd/weird clothes?” An appropriate response, in a good-natured tone, might be, “I am wearing normal/proper/decent/fitting clothes, young man/sir/madam/sire/m’lady for the year ____.”  This helps drive home the point that each of us in our own “time” are just “normal” people as much as they are. The clothing that you wear as a re-enactor is as normal as the clothing the visitor is wearing in their “time.”

 

What Does It Take To Be A Successful Living Historian?

A passion for history, a desire to share that history, sound knowledge of history, a willingness to adopt the correct “dress,” and the ability to get into the clothes, skin, and mindset of a historic personage.

 

So, what should I do first?

There are two things to do before you begin to make or buy clothing or accessories for your living history adventures.  First, begin figuring out who/what you want to portray.  Do research on that impression so you understand what that person’s life was like and what clothing/items they realistically would have had.  There are all sorts of things that vendors offer for sale, some are period correct and others not so much.  Also, keep in mind that just because something may have existed in your era, it may not be right for the persona and location you portray. It is easy to waste money buying stuff that just isn’t useful once you begin to get things figured out.

Second, have a meeting with our Guild Master, whether over video or in person. This meeting can help you better understand the Guild, help to choose a character, house, name and give you more tips and tricks.

 

How do I know what events are coming up?

Well, that’s easy! We Get a newsletter every month as well as other emails that always have updates. Our website is updated weekly to reflect upcoming events on the “Events Page” and we have a discord group where we talk all the time! It’s hard to say that we don’t know when an event is coming up!

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