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
Indian Wars Period
7th U.S. Cavalry
Buffalo Soldiers Of The American West
World War II
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.
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
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.
Women’s History Groups
Colorado Coalition For Women’s History
Shady Ladies Of Central City
Historic Sports Groups
Independent Character Presenters
Suppliers of Historical Reproduction Items
Shoes and Boots
Cloth and Yard Goods
Tinware and Metalware
1700’s and Early 1800’s Clothing and Accessories
Mid-Late 1800’s Clothing and Accessories
Civil War Uniforms and Equipment
Firearms and Other Weapons
Saddles, Harness, etc.