The past can be “experienced” and Townsend offers an excellent window

Posted on October 12, 2018 by

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Reading about history can be very enjoyable, and it’s essential for anyone seeking a core understanding of the past. Yet, there can be more.

For a number of the book-learned practitioners of history, there’s a “sensory need” which books can’t fulfill, and it’s those sensory experiences that bring another dynamic to an understanding of the past. While I entered into that “other world” some 37 years ago as a Civil War reenactor, that interest evolved, and, within the past four years, I began dabbling more in “living history”, as a ca. 1850s civilian. Not only did I purchase period-appropriate attire, I started dabbling in foodways, seeking another way with which I might be able to engage spectators, at different events. Yet, it’s not always about engaging spectators. Sometimes, it can be about living historians seeking out what some of us call… “the bubble”, or that short moment while engaged in living history that, seemingly, transports us back in time. As Jonathan Townsend states in the following video… he “was almost there”, meaning that aforementioned “bubble”.

If you havent had the pleasure of watching Townsend’s amazing series, “Savoring the Past”, or his TV blog, I encourage you to sign-up. I’ve been watching for a few years, and I’ve learned a great deal which can carry over to early 19th century foodways… and may well influence me to add 18th century living history to my experiences and outreach efforts.

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