Reenacting on the National Military Park
The National Park Service (NPS) is the steward for many of America's great battleﬁelds. The lands are preserved as memorials to those who fought, died, cared about, and were aﬀected by the people engaged in those battles. NPS policy reﬂects sensitivity to the human suﬀering and sacriﬁce that took place on the battleﬁelds and prohibits battle reenactments, demonstrations of battle tactics that involve exchanges of ﬁre between opposing lines, taking casualties, hand-to-hand combat, or any other form of simulated warfare.
Even the best-researched and most well-intentioned representations of combat cannot replicate the tragic complexity of real warfare. The activity and logistical support for modern battle reenactments is inconsistent with providing a memorial atmosphere. Another concern is the risk of damage to the land—often the only remaining tangible connection to a battle.
The NPS welcomes partners who study the past by temporarily stepping into its clothing and customs. These partners share their passion with the public as "living historians." Interpretive programs supported by "living historians" allow park rangers to make deep connections with visitors by transporting them back to another time in history. Through this type of interpretation, the park can educate visitors through Union, Confederate, and civilian perspectives.