Welcome to the Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission

Skip Navigation

Please Note: You are viewing the non-styled version of the Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission website. Either your browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or it is disabled. We suggest upgrading your browser to the latest version of your favorite Internet browser.

Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission  
 

Creating a Good Relationship Between Re-enactors and Your Site

Rick Finch- Director, Fort Meigs: Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield



This hand-out was developed for a presentation to the Ohio Local History Alliance Region One conference in 2010. It was intended as a generic set of guidelines for working with re-enactors of all time periods, but it can help specifically when discussing whether to host a re-enactment for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Know what you want before you start

  • Ask yourself why you are using re-enactors? That is, how will this enhance your goals, objectives, or mission?
  • Have an idea of what you want from the re-enactors and be able to convey that to them in planning meetings
  • Re-enactors, living historians, & historical interpreters, know the difference & who is best to meet your needs
  • Other factors to consider:
                   How many re-enactors do you want?
                   Is this an “open” event or an “invitation-only” event?
                   What time period do you want?
                   How many re-enactors can your site reasonably accommodate?
                   Will they be the focal point of the event or a "side show to the big show?"
                   Do you have liability insurance or can the re-enactors provide it?

Get to know the re-enactors and get them involved

  • Get to know your re-enacting "leaders" and get them involved in the planning process
  • Have one or two go-to re-enactors that know the current "politics" and can help you get things done

Be prepared to relinquish some control... but don’t expect the re-enactors to do everything

  • You must invest staff time
  • Spell out who is responsible for what duties such as registration,
                   battle planning, schedule of events, publicity, & camping logistics
  • Utilize the re-enactor military chain of command to your advantage
  • Be flexible and try new things they suggest

Pre-event Preparation

  • Have a user-friendly registration form
  • Have a clearly marked registration area for the event
  • Re-enactors, living historians, & historical interpreters, know the difference & who is best to meet your needs
  • Have a welcome packet to hand out at registration. Things many include:
                   Thank you letter
                   Map with local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, groceries, etc.
                   Event guidelines and ground rules
                   Schedule of events [that includes public programs and re-enactor logistics]
                   Safety guidelines
                   Site rules or regulations that you feel the re-enactors need to know or follow
                   Garbage bag
                   Liability waiver

To-dos for the event

  • Make sure you have:
                   Water, straw, firewood, and plenty of clean toilets [in convenient locations]
                   A serve weather emergency plan
                   A first aid area
                   A lost child plan
                   Staff on site 24/7 or if not have an emergency number
  • Make sure you thank the re-enactors for coming out
  • Give them perks, if you can
  • Daily meetings are a must
  • Feedback and review is a must

Respect

  • Many re-enactors care deeply about sites so make sure you treat your re-enactors with respect and professionalism.
  • Consider re-enactors as guest volunteers & hold them to the same standards but also treat with them the same
                   respect as paid or non-paid staff

Other helpful hints

  • Make sure your event doesn’t conflict with an established event
  • Once you have a date, stick with it
  • Start small and build up to a large event [if that is what you’re after]
  • Stay determined. Re-enactors are notorious for not promptly replying or registering, especially for new events
                   or groups they don’t know