Experiencing History

I love history.  Especially the realities of what it was like to live during different periods of history.  I'm particularly drawn to the early years of our country.  My church just celebrated it's 275th anniversary.  To put that in perspective, George Washington was 4 years old when my church was founded. 

A walk through the cemetery brings history a little closer to home.  There are graves from every war this country has ever fought in.  It's humbling to me to read the gravestones of men, many really boys, that died during all the various wars.  The ones I tend to linger a little longer over are the ones from the American Revolution. 

In the early 80s, I worked for a few years at Old Sturbridge Village.  It's a living history museum that represents the period roughly from 1790 to 1830.  When I worked there, once you passed the gates, you were immersed in what it was actually like in that period.  I was a farmer and blacksmith.  We ran the farm exactly as it would have been run during the early 1800s.  I was in the best shape of my life.

Today, due to difficult economic times, the village has changed somewhat.  Now there are more static exhibits, modern signs, and less emphasis on having costumed employees actually "living" the life of a person of the time. (We never actually lived there.  Everyone went home at night and returned the next day.) But you can still get a feel for what it must have been like to live in a small New England town in the early 1800s.

The village puts on a lot of special events during the year, but my favorite is Redcoats and Rebels weekend.  Over a thousand revolutionary war re enactors recreate life on the field of war.  Encampments spring up all over the village grounds, and for a weekend, people can experience that event "up close and personal."

At last summer's event, I gave myself a photo project.  I wanted to make pictures that captured the spirit and feeling of the event.  Not just battle scenes, although those are cool too, but I wanted to find the deeper emotion of it.  Here are some of the results.