Living History into the Present

To celebrate Veteran’s Day, I chaperoned an annual field trip that my children’s school takes to Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth, MA, a living history museum which seeks to recreate the atmosphere of the first permanent English settlement in the New World on a site very close to that of the original settlement. The school staff and I have an ongoing joke that we almost prefer to have real and deep conversations with these folks faking the seventeenth century over the usual trite and sometimes fake conversations we find ourselves having with the real (or at least living) people of the 21st century. What is it about our own sense of history which is so lacking that we have to pay actors to help us re-imagine the past? Continue reading