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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Living History Museums

18I love history and even more, I thrill when the past comes alive for modern museum visitors by means of reenactors. Whether Plimouth Plantation or other sites in our country and beyond, there’s nothing like seeing something come to life right before your eyes.

Our kids have dressed up in Civil War outfits next to battlefields, letting their imaginations run free at young ages when they otherwise would never have remembered terms such as “shebang” when small tents were joined together to make “the whole shebang”.   Our youngest daughter, Sashenka, dressed in ancient-style robes, pulling up skin buckets at a stone well in the Judean hills. Our older daughter, Mashenka, dressed up like a woman on a ship of long ago when visiting a famous port.

We have witnessed plowing with oxen, potters at an ancient wheel, cooks laboring over an open-fire GranaryBlobstove, and blacksmiths crafting nails. There was even one where the wind puffs of imaginary bullets whizzed past our heads—we could hear them and we could “feel” them. Our family enjoyed tours of historic homes with period furniture.

But now I’ve come to a new realization that we’ve been duped.

pioneer arizona living history museum (5)_bMany of the houses and plantations seek to reconstruct furnishings and decorative arts of the same era as the structure. However, that’s just not how it was.

As years passed, families inherited furnishings or bought some new pieces. Not everything was matchy-matchy as though they journeyed to a local furniture store and picked out an entire household of pieces. Not only did not everything match and not everything represented the latest in styles… the homes did not usually appear as they do today.

Instead of looking like Colonial furniture warehouses with perfectly set-up rooms, we could get a pioneer-living-historybetter idea of real daily life if an item or two were in disarray—a half-eaten meal, one boot fallen over by the bedside rather than a pair standing like soldiers, papers scattered over a desk or couch…. Maybe a dog or cat wandering among the rooms.

It’s fun whenever real people/actors are involved in such historic settings. In my opinion, that’s when history comes alive and visitors remember so much more than looking at staid rooms or books.

I hope you get a chance to visit a living history museum this summer!


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