What we Do
What makes the Institute different from other living history organizations? Most organizations, no matter which era they portray, are strictly an association for hobbyists. Members are usually close friends, and new members are recruited via word of mouth. Each member is expected to purchase and maintain their own set of clothing and equipment, with some veteran members loaning some extras from their personal collections to incoming recruits. Recruits struggle to obtain quality gear from various sources, including safe and reliable equipment.
The Institute Difference
In short, the current living history environment proves to be inaccessible to new members, varying in historical accuracy, and generally an unprofessional system. Instead, the Institute's model aims to provide Accessibility, Accuracy, and Professionalism.
Living history is an exciting and unique activity to participate in, but it is not well known to the general public. Most people who might otherwise be interested in participating as a performer are not aware that this activity is available to the general public, or even how to find an organization to join. The Institute strives to maintain a modernized marketing presence, making use of social media and other digital mediums to ensure that the public is aware of our living history events and extending a warm invitation to participate to all history buffs, outdoorsmen, and anyone interested in experiencing an immersive historical adventure.
The Institute goes to great lengths to make participating in our activities easy for new recruits. With online registrations, clear and readily available instructions and information, well-trained leaders, and all necessary gear provided, the process for new recruits is designed to be straight-forward and free from the high cost-barrier of sourcing and purchasing your own gear, or the awkward process of piecing together a kit from multiple loaners.
We are also working to make our performances and programs more accessible to the general public. We hope to use our marketing approach to increase awareness, as well as provide offerings that are appropriate for and interesting to all ages and every learning style.
Amongst the various Civil War living history hobbyist organizations, historical authenticity standards vary wildly. From nearly non-existent to extremely rigid, these standards can be bewildering for new recruits and event planners alike. The Institute removes this problem by providing our performers with all gear, which is carefully sourced to be as accurate while providing the opportunity to participate to as many people as possible at an affordable price. The Institute prides itself on an immersive historical environment, and we carefully control what modern items are brought to events. These are generally limited to items that are essential to the health, safety, and basic comfort of our performers. Any modern items that are used are carefully concealed to maintain the immersive environment for both participant and guest.
The Institute has worked tirelessly to create a unique system of training and education that is designed to produce a new class of living historian. Our trained and experienced leaders have an extensive resume of skills and knowledge that they rely on to instruct and coach our performers as they become competent and professional living historians. We make learning this craft fun, easy, and just challenging enough to bring out the best in everyone. We hope that our audiences and the historic sites we work with are impressed by the knowledge, training, and professionalism of all our leaders and performers.