Have you ever dreamed of being a knight? Of donning beautiful Renaissance attire? Of being a soldier in a Civil War battle? If you have a passion for a particular historical period, chances are there's a group out there that shares your interest and spends a great deal of time re-enacting all aspects of that time period.
Things You'll Need
- Renaissance Outfits
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing Supplies
- Local Newspapers
- Internet Access
- Period Camping Gear
Think about your favorite historical time period and concentrate on finding a group that focuses on that era. Interested in a specific historical event rather than an entire era? There are also groups that re-enact major historical events such as the War of the Roses or the Battle of Antietam.
Determine whether you're interested in joining a performance-oriented group. For example, most, if not all, of the Renaissance Faire organizations are geared toward public performance. There are groups, however, that re-enact historical periods or events solely for the education and enjoyment of the group's members.
Look on the Internet for information about historical re-enactment groups. Search using phrases such as "living history" and "historical re-enactment." You can also search using more specific keywords such as "medieval re-enactment" and "Civil War re-enactment."
Look in your local newspaper for listings of historical re-enactment events that may be taking place in your area. Most large re-enactment events take place outdoors, so spring and summer are very active times of the year for the majority of these groups.
Ask if membership is required to participate or if the group allows newcomers a "grace period" during which they can spend some time determining whether they enjoy the group and its activities.
Talk to the group's members about their experiences and interests. This is a great way to meet people, and you'll be able to get an idea of what the group is all about before you join.
Take your family with you. Historical re-enactment is about more than re-creating battles. There are activities geared toward all ages and interests. Sewing, metalworking, weaving, needlepoint, ceramic arts - these are just a few of the period activities that take place at most re-enactment events.
Be aware of any special rules or regulations before joining. Some re-enactment groups have a rigid system of rank that determines what clothes can be worn and how to address other members. If your main interest is costuming, you may find yourself unable to wear the dresses or outfits you want.
Realize that historical re-enactment can be a time-consuming and expensive hobby. Once you get really involved, be prepared to spend most of your free time preparing for re-enactment events. Also expect to spend more than a few dollars on items such as costumes, fabric, tents, camp gear, weapons, and arts and crafts supplies.
Tips & Warnings
- Ask for information about historical re-enactment groups at your local library, museums and historical societies. Even if they don't have specific contact information, they'll most likely be able to point you in the right direction.
- Don't be shy about approaching the group's members with questions. No one expects you to be an expert in history, and most re-enactors love to talk at great length about their hobby.
- Avoid investing a lot of money in costumes, tents, weapons and so on right away. Many re-enactment groups will loan out items such as costumes to newcomers.
- Look for period patterns on the Internet and in fabric stores. You'll save a lot of money if you learn to make your own costumes. Ask other members of the group for help in learning to sew or in finding appropriate patterns and fabrics for your chosen time period.
- Ask the group's participants about their expenditures in both time and resources before you join. You may find that this hobby will require more of both than you're willing or able to spend.