Living History — noun
any of various activities involving the re-enactment of historical events or the recreation of living conditions of the past
Some people think living history is just a bunch crazy people dressing up in old-timey clothes and hanging out at historical sites. You’ve seen the popular media make fun of living historians. Conan O’brien did a segment on it. (I laughed.)
There are some seriously dedicated people who IMMERSE themselves in their hobby. I’ve met some of them and even I think some of them over do it a bit. Whether it’s trains, model air planes, doll collecting, knitting, Land Rovers, or whatever. Some people really dive into their hobby. Whether its the trekkie learning the Klingon language, or Lord of the Rings fans learning to speak Elvish, or the train enthusiast that photographs all the locomotive engines in North America, it’s no different with living history buffs.
I’ve portrayed characters in at least three historical periods. I’ve been fortunate enough to play Sequoyah in a documentary, Road to Removal. Maybe you’ve seen it. (Just kidding). I’ve been on the History Channel in Indian Warriors: The Untold Story of the Civil War (2006). I was even an extra in Treasure Blind (2008) which features part of the story occurring in the Civil War. I’ve also been in at least two Oklahoma Historical Society documentaries. (My copies are on VHS).
I’ve even had my kids involved,
The Civil War,
My favorite is 1820-1845. For me this was the Golden Age of the Cherokee Nation. The Old Settlers had come to the area now known as Oklahoma. They lived free and governed themselves. In my opinion it was a good time for the tribe.
I’ve got a great bunch of friends who I portray the past with. Some of which work for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Part of the fun is getting the period correct and that takes a lot of research. They really know their stuff and it’s a pleasure to take the field with them. The best part is none of them are nutters about their history. They recognize that once Sunday comes around the 19th century ends and the 21st century resumes.
Living historians are good people and care greatly about their craft and presenting their historical period to the public. As spring-time approaches the weekends will be filled with historical events at many sites around your state, some famous, some not so famous. Take a road trip with your family and support the living historians and the history they portray. If they didn’t keep the history alive you’d wonder what all those historical sites were for and what had happened there.
Thanks for reading, support your local historians, and Happy Rovering.