Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Living History

By Andrea Boeshaar

Today's tidbit: If you want to learn about our country's history...live it. 

Of course, it's impossible to turn back the hands of time 150 years to the days of the American Civil War and you can't walk the cobbled streets of Jamestown during the American Revolution. However, one can visit museums, landmarks, take walking tours, and attend reenactments.

I attended a Civil War reenactment during Civil War Weekend last fall at the Wade House here in Wisconsin. I walked through both Yankee and Rebel campsites. I visited with women and asked about their dresses. I heard one lady discuss medical instruments used during that day.

One gentleman explained how the slang phrase, "the whole shebang" came into being. During the War Between the States each soldier was given half a shebang or tent. When they conjoined it with a buddy's...yep, they got an entire tent. The whole shebang

Kids especially can benefit from visiting historical places and/or attending reenactments. I still remember my parents taking us kids to the Vicksburg battlefield. We took turns sitting on the cannons and played tag. And while it didn't mean a lot at the time, it's a memory I'll carry with me forever. 

So instead of helping your children, or yourself, understand American history through textbooks and pictures or movies, consider living it this year.


  1. Reliving history is a wonderful way to learn. I always feel like I step back in time when I visit historical Williamsburg. There is much to see and do in our great United States.

    Great post!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  2. I love reenactments! We have a group here in Colorado that does a Revolutionary War Living History Day that is just fantastic.

  3. Great post, Andrea! We always try to visit historical sites when we are traveling and they are always fascinating! We have not attended a reenactment yet, but plan to do so as our children get older.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  4. Great way to know history
    God bless you
    Chris Granville

  5. I love living history. Long ago, I took my kids to the Living History Museum in Des Moines. It showed the area "as it was" throughout several hundred years of history, starting with Native American villages. The "homestead" section has a working farm, where my kids saw haying done the old-fashioned way and dinner (lunch) being cooked for the farmhands. Pretty cool. Thanks for bringing back those memories, Andrea.