• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

Living History & Re-enacting

Objects for an accurate living history exhibit or program should be chosen as carefully as objects for an exhibit in a visitor center. The first hurdle, especially in choosing clothing, may be to figure out exactly what you need to be historically accurate. In fact, finding objects to use in living history can be more difficult because not only must the objects be accurate in design and function, they must be made of the same materials as the antique and they must be new. Finding accurate, well-made usable objects can be tough, and may not be possible for some time periods.

By far, the most popular time periods for living history interpretation are the American Revolution and the Civil War. Fortunately, a large business has grown up supplying reproduction items, especially military items, for re-enactors and history professionals. However, the quality and accuracy of these items vary considerably. If you are familiar with the design, materials, and construction of the antique, you can judge the accuracy of the reproduction. If in doubt, HFC curators can guide you to the most authentic supplier.

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