For many people, history can seem like a distant, far-away place that is hard to connect with. Lots of us remember history as a tortuous slog through history books, being told to remember certain dates and names, and not much else. But that’s not what history is really about.
History is about where we come from, who we used to be and what that means for us now. It is layers and layers of people and events, all building up to create the present day. History should be colourful and alive, not grey and dull. This is where living history comes in. By recreating the past before our eyes, living history makes us see that the people of yesteryear were just like us.
By taking a look at the trend for living history, we’ll see the value of preserving memories of the past and how you can do this too.
Why Living History?
Lots of people find history hard to connect with. Photographs of the past are often black and white, making the subjects seem more like an artefact that a real, living person. Couple this with thick, dry textbooks of dates and you get a version of history that seems more like a chore than a delight. Living history attempts to offset this by bringing the past back to life.
Whilst battle re-enactments aim to accurately recreate the clash of armies, a lot of living history is not about pure, to-the-letter-recreation. Much of living history is about capturing the ‘aura’ of a time and place and bringing it back to life. This means authentic dress, location and character, but manifested in an organic way. The point of living history is not to create a living history diorama, but to provide a peek into real lives of the period and things we would have ‘felt’ then.
With living history being such an alive, interactive form of the past, adults and children alike can learn a great deal about their forebears. Learning by seeing and experiencing is an invaluable part of growing to love something, so for children living history can be a total delight. At the same time, adults can enjoy being able to take in a by-gone age and experience history in a way that seemed impossible when they were back in the classroom all those years ago.
Simply put, living history is a great way to engage any audience with historical learning and not even have it feel like learning.
By the same token, Recordalife offers you the same chance to record your history through an audio biography. Every person’s story is unique, important, and deserves to be recorded. Recordalife offers the opportunity to detail and transcribe your own journey, with a hardback book, audio CD and much more – the result of your telling. We are all part of history and we all have wisdom and knowledge to impart, so get in touch and make your own living history.