2018 Great War Day Event Guidelines for Volunteers

Event Guidelines for Great War Event
Eisenhower National Historic Site

As a participant in the Eisenhower National Historic Sites' Great War Day, you represent the National Park Service as an interpretive volunteer and courteous manner. You are expected to act in a professional courteous and serious manner at all times, when dealing with the public, befitting with the period that your unit portrays. Know your material well and be just as inquisitive toward the visitors as they are toward you. Ask them questions. Draw the visitor into your demonstration by comparing their lives today with the experiences of those during World War I. lt helps to make the visitor's experience meaningful if you can connect their current lives with the past. We also request that you respect your fellow volunteers, their equipment, and areas.

Personal Behavior and Code of Conduct

  1. Use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the site during the event.
  1. This weekend is meant to primarily represent the combatants and the world of 1914 - 1919. Since we cannot build a World War l environment (i.e. Trenches and no man's land) we will present a view from behind the lines. Impressions can be sharp for new arrivals going into the lines. Additional impressions can represent units just coming out of the lines. This goes for both Allied and Central Powers impressions.
  1. Courtesy to the public is required. Use of colorful language should not be tolerated by unit commanders and will not be tolerated by the park. The general public includes children. Be sensitive to proper etiquette with different age groups.
  1. Living history volunteers are not permitted to sell any items to the public or other living historians while at the historic site. World War I items, including books, must only be sold through our site bookstore. It is National Park Service policy that only NPS authorized vendors may make sales.

Weapons Safety

  1. Basic weapons safety rules will be enforced. All weapons will remain unloaded but will be treated as though they are loaded! Never point the muzzle at another person. Keep the barrel pointed skyward or toward the ground.
  1. When on duty, (such as guard duty or during demonstrations), weapons must be kept with the owner at all times, handled in a military manner, secured in the volunteer's hands at all times or slung.
  1. When off duty, the weapon should be secured in the participant's tent or a central secure place. Never lean any weapon in a vertical position against any object, unless you are using a rifle rack. Rifles with stacking swivels are permitted to be stacked in a military manner. If not stacked, weapons should be stored flat. All weapons (including dummies) used in displays must be located in a central area with a guard posted during hours of public visitation.

  1. The public may hold a weapon as long as the owner maintains a firm grasp on the weapon. This will prevent inadvertent aiming at other visitors. The owner should check the chamber prior to each request to hold the weapon. The public is absolutely prohibited from handling edged weapons or handguns at any time.
  1. Sharp edged or pointed weapons, such as bayonets, knives, and swords, will remain sheathed. In the event that fix bayonet is demonstrated the bayonet must be kept in a scabbard and at least a seven-foot safety zone between the living historian, other re-enactors, and the audience.

Gas masks

Since the Great War saw the rise of chemical warfare on an unprecedented scale, impressions should also include the use of poison gas and the defense against this new weapon by both sides.
  1. Only reproduction gas masks are permitted at the event. (No Exceptions)


Only period era vehicles (1910 - 1920) will be allowed in the display area during visitation hours. Nearby will be a parking area for modern vehicles.
  1. All vehicles are to be driven in a safe manner by licensed drivers. No excessive speeds are allowed.
  1. Vehicles should only carry the number of passengers they were designed to carry.


No live ammunition of any sort is allowed on the site at any time. Only mock, inert rounds with no powder charges are permitted. No blank firings allowed. The public is absolutely forbidden to handle or hold any blank ammunition at any time.


  1. No ground or pit fires are allowed.

The demonstration of safe practice techniques will present a competent image to the public. These guidelines may be amended any time at the discretion of the on-site National Park Service safety officer.

Medical Emergency Guidelines for Great War Day

1. In case of an actual medical emergency within the event area a call for medical assistance shall be Call 911

2. A National Park Service ranger equipped with a radio will be on duty in the area from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Authenticity Guidelines for Great War Event
Eisenhower National Historic Site

The goal of the World War I Day at Eisenhower National Historic Site is to relate the role of the US Army in World War I to then Lieutenant, Captain, Major and Lieutenant Coronel Eisenhower and its' influence on a future leader. It is important that we present an accurate appearance of the World War I military (both Allied and Central powers) to help the public understand and appreciate what life was like for a soldier overseas in the period from 1914 to 1918. This period can include West Point (1911 - 1915), The Punitive Expedition (Mexican American relations 1915 - 1916), the post war period (Treaty of Versailles, the post war army to include demobilization occupation, the transcontinental convoy and memorialization of the battlefields. Since Eisenhower was in an early developmental phase of his career, which included his first independent command (Camp Colt 1918) this period greatly influenced his later life. With this in mind, our main emphasis is that period from West Point to the end of Eisenhower’s assignment to the American Battlefield Commission in 1928. Representation of other theaters of World War I (such as Africa, the Middle East, Pacific must be NPS approved first. Since Eisenl1ower's contribution during World War I was primarily as a trainer in Texas, Georgia, Kansas and here in Pennsylvania the Home Front will receive special consideration.

The encampment should represent an army camp behind the lines on the Western Front. Real soldiers were trained to have a military bearing in their actions. Accordingly, we expect our volunteers to hold a military bearing in camp, except when relaxing. This said soldiers coming out of the trenches did not have the same appearance as units arriving to go into the line or those returning from the line. When possible we will attempt to display this sense of a world in flux. Do your part to accurately portray those we are trying to honor.

  1. Unit commanders must be 21 years of age or older and agree to be responsible for the safety, conduct, and authenticity of all participants serving as a member of his or her unit. All participants should be members of an organized and registered unit. However Individual impressions will be considered. Civilian impressions are exempted from this rule.

  1. All persons will present a correct and proper military appearance in representing a soldier as they would have appeared during the Great War.

  1. Uniforms and equipment must be of a model or type in use by the Armed Forces of the Allied or the Central Powers during the period 1910 to 1920. Uniforms, equipment, weapons, and tentage (as much as possible) in the camp area may be original or authentic reproductions.

  1. All military living history participants will wear impression appropriate head gear Weapons guidelines and safety regulations will be strictly enforced.

  1. No medals of valor shall be worn, Title 18 U.S. Code Sec. 1001 states that it is illegal to sell, wear, or manufacture U.S. military medals and decorations except when authorized under regulations pursuant to law. Violators can be fined or imprisoned.

  1. Hair style of the period will be required of all male participants and for the U.S. military will consist of sideburns that do not extend past the middle of the ear, proper trim around the ears, and a tapered cut on the area behind the ears. The haircut may not extend below the upper edge of the collar of the tunic. Proper mustachesand/or beards are allowed in the units that permitted them. Among the American forces mustaches must not extend beyond the corners of the upper lip. No beards are allowed with American military impressions. Eyewear must be period eyeglasses.Contact lenses are permitted, however the wearer must keep his or her contact lens storage containers and care products out of sight in public view except in emergencies.

  2. Female participants are encouraged to attend in the role of civilians, service women and support organizations (i.e. Salvation Anny, Red Cross and the Y) War I. Hairstyles and uniform standards of the period will be expected. Women participants must have proper hair styles of the period. Civilian impressions must also follow proper dress and hair styles of the period.

  1. National Park Service officials will give written notices to those members deficient in areas of authenticity (haircut, uniforms, equipment, military courtesy, etc.) through their unit commanders. The notice will indicate the area or deficiency and the individual and his unit commander will each sign and receive a copy. At the following event the individual will be checked again and if the problem has not been corrected to the satisfaction of the unit commanders and/or park officials, the individual may be asked to leave the event. Units continually receiving excessive numbers of individual warnings may be prohibited from participation in events until those deficiencies have been corrected.

Last updated: January 4, 2018

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