Living History Guide

Introduction

During the past several years, living history and reenactment programs have become much more popular as an intrinsic part of some of the most respected historical sites in the United States and Canada. Plimoth Plantation, Colonial Williamsburg, Conner Prairie, Sturbridge Village, Mystic Seaport, Fortress Louisbourg, and many others have made living history the backbone of their interpretive methods. The standards and methodology of this presentation method have come under much scrutiny. Living history has been praised as the ultimate method of communicating with the visitor, and damned as a shallow and misleading method of entertainment rather than enlightenment. For those who feel that living history can be an effective communications and educational method, CWAM offers this guide to assist in planning programs and events. Its purpose is to prove that you do not have to journey to distant locations to experience quality living history presentations. This method of bringing history to life is itself alive and well in Colorado and Wyoming.

This Living History Guide is meant as a tool to assist museums and historical organizations of all types. It will provide basic information about some of the most prominent groups and individuals who present living history programs in Colorado and Wyoming. It also includes a listing of some suppliers of reproduction items that can be purchased to add to historical authenticity. It is impossible to list every group or person presenting historic programs in both states. However, we hope that it will prove useful to those sites that wish to add living history programs to their special events or programming schedules. We have deliberately not included information about fees, in the belief that this is a matter that should be worked out between the person presenting the program and the venue in which they are appearing. Also, this guide does not endorse any individual or group on behalf of CWAM.

To clarify our listing of presentation methods:

“1st person” refers to the method of role-playing in which people present themselves as being actual persons from the past.

“2nd person” is the method by which presenters describe the activities being done by others who usually stay in character during the presentation.

“3rd person” is the method of describing or presenting activities and ideas of people from the past without the presenter actually portraying a person from the past or role-playing.

The guide will never really be completed. New people and groups will be added and some undoubtedly will be deleted as time goes on. Corrections will also have to be made.

If you see information you feel is incorrect, or wish to add a group or individual to the list, please contact the CWAM website chair.

MILITARY REENACTMENT GROUPS

Civil War Period

1st Texas Volunteer Infantry
1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry
5th Texas Cavalry
4th U.S. Artillery
5th U.S. Infantry
3rd U.S. Volunteers
4th Texas Artillery
1st Colorado Independent Battery

1840’s – 1850’s

U.S. Topographical Engineers
U.S. Dragoons

Indian Wars Period

7th U.S. Cavalry
Buffalo Soldiers Of The American West

World War II

10th Mountain Division Living History

Western History Groups

Living Museums Of The West

MOUNTAIN MAN / FUR TRADE GROUPS

Presentation methods for the following groups are primarily 3rd person. These organizations represent the era of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade from the very early 1800’s through about 1840. Their costuming and weapons are representative of those worn by American fur trappers and traders from that time period.

Fremont Trappers
Rocky Mountain Men Of Aurora
Colorado Springs Muzzleloaders
Grand Mesa Muzzleloaders
Bell’s Fort Freetrappers And Muzzleloaders
St. Vrain Black Powder Club
San Luis Valley Renegades
Tallow River Trappers, Ft. Lupton

Gunfighter Groups

The following groups represent the legendary era of the Old West, roughly from the 1860’s through the 1890’s. Presentation methods are a combination of all three types. Type of clothing range from lowly cowboy garb and saloon girl outfits to fancy gambler’s or sheriff’s clothing and the height of female fashion. There is a strong emphasis on “gunfighter” skills and the ability to use a pistol or rifle quickly and with accuracy. Many competitions are held annually to test the skill and speed of the members.

San Juan Shooting Range
Colorado Cowboys
Rocky Mountain Gunslingers

Women’s History Groups

Colorado Coalition For Women’s History
Shady Ladies Of Central City

Historic Sports Groups

Colorado Vintage Baseball Association

Character Interpreters

Colorado Endowment for the Humanities
Wyoming Council for the Humanities
Grand County Characters
Doc Holliday

Independent Character Presenters

Linda Batlin
John Voehl
Rick Sheideman
Mary Jane Bradbury
Buffalo Bill Experience

Suppliers of Historical Reproduction Items

Hats

Dirty Billy’s Sutlery
Clearwater Hat Co.
Hats R Cool

Shoes and Boots

Missouri Boot and Shoe Company
Mattimore Harness
Fugawee Corporation

Cloth and Yard Goods

County Cloth
Family Heirloom Weavers
ReproductionFabrics.com

Tinware and Metalware

Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum

1700’s and Early 1800’s Clothing and Accessories

Track of the Wolf
Jas. Townsend & Son
Blue Heron Mercantile

Mid-Late 1800’s Clothing and Accessories

C & D Jarnagin
Wahmaker Old West Clothing
River Junction Trade Co.
Wild West Mercantile
Hamilton Dry Goods

Civil War Uniforms and Equipment

Fall Creek Sutlery
Stony Brook Company
G. H. Bent and Company
Jersey Skillet Licker Products
John Zaharias
The Quartermaster Shop

Patterns

Amazon Vinegar and Picking Works
Past Patterns
Folkwear Patterns

Firearms and Other Weapons

Dixie Gun Works
Navy Arms Company
Lodgewood Manufacturing
The Rifle Shoppe

Saddles, Harness, etc.

Border States Leatherworks

Period Stationery

Sullivan Press

Musical Instruments

Cooperman Fife and Drum Company

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