Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Twenty-Year Anniversary

Time is a curious thing, especially when you spend part of your life dressing like people from the past. It’s been over twenty years since I started reenacting, but the most peculiar part about that is that I can so clearly remember excitedly waiting for the summer of 2012 to write my ten-year anniversary post. And it’s been eleven years since then??

As I wrote in 2012, reenacting has influenced my life in profound ways. My closest friends are reenactors (or at the very least they wear costumes at work). I can directly trace the path I took to graduate school and my current job at the Museum of the American Revolution back through a chain of mentors and museum professionals that I met through reenacting. That path goes all the way back to a newspaper article that appeared in my hometown paper in 2002 about a Civil War reenacting unit that was forming in town. I called a phone number, starting going to meetings, and in June of that year my parents let me go off with a bunch of people who spend weekends dressing like Civil War soldiers. It all worked out ok.

Here's is just a sample of where reenacting has taken me since my last recap in 2012:

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, July 1863
Here I am standing at the High Water Mark at Gettysburg on July 3, 2013, holding a federal officer's sword carried there on July 3, 1863.

Royal Navy Marine, 1812-1815
A film shoot for Maryland Public Television, 2013.

4th Connecticut Private Soldier, Spring 1778, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
A National Park Service living history event in 2014.

Royal Navy Able Seaman, Caulk's Field, Maryland, 1814
A blurry photo taken in the evening as we stood with our boarding pikes, but a crystal-clear memory from 2014.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, April 1865
The 150th anniversary living history event commemorating the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Gettysburg, 1863
A tintype photograph.

Philadelphia Associator, January 1777
A January 2017 event that I wrote about here.

Alexander Hamilton, December 1778
From a film shoot for Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia, a special exhibition at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Crampton's Gap, Maryland, 1862
From an event in 2018.

Tyler, New York City, Summer 2019
2019 was a busy year at the Museum, and it included both a summer-long collaboration with the New-York Historical Society that I regularly commuted up for AND me getting hit in the face by a door at the Museum, as you can see here.

Tyler, Riverton, New Jersey, Summer 2020
Like most people, I spent a good chunk of 2020 online. I still got to dress up occasionally.

British-American Sailor, Chesapeake Bay, 1776
Part of a film shoot aboard the Schooner Sultana for our True Colours Flag Project.

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Circa 1863
A lower-res image of as long as my hair ever got, in 2021.

Commander-in-Chief's Guardsman, Philadelphia, 1778
Part of our 2021 photoshoot for the Virtual Tour of Washington's War Tent.

Grenadier, 5th Regiment of Foot, British Army, Philadelphia, 1777-1778
My best impression of an 18th-century satire, 2022.

Philadelphia Scotsman, circa 1778
A made a lot of kilts (though not quite all the ones you see here) in 2022!

Second Lieutenant, Union Army, Gettsyburg, 1863
With some old friends at Remembrance Day in 2022.

South Jersey Citizen, 1778
Just last weekend at the Hancock House!

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