There is something magical about living history. Living history provides the visitor with the ability to engage all their senses while learning about the past. Some of us may get the most understanding out of reading an exhibit or interpretive sign in a museum or on a battlefield; but others can have a greater understanding of our history if we can see, smell, feel, or even eat part of the past. What better way to answer the question “what would it have been like?” then to immerse yourself in a recreation of what it was like.
Some historic sites provide you with a first person account, meaning, you may have interactions with costumed interpreters on the grounds of the historic site and they will talk as if they are a citizen of that time period. They won’t know what is taking place in 2015, or know what that strange device is you have in your hand (“cell phone? what’s that?”). Certain special events that occur in the Heritage Area offer special first person presentations, including John Brown and WB Brockett at Black Jack Battlefield. A lot of sites may not offer living history year round, but offer special events with living history, including Civil War demonstrations at Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum, Historic Lecompton, 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum, or the Wornall Majors House Museums.
A lot of historic site in our Heritage Area offer living history programs in third person; meaning they are there to explain what it was like back then, but they still know what year it is and they know what a cell phone is (depending on the program, they may ask you to turn it off!).
A living history program can offer you a glimpse into the past. Want to get even closer to the past? Think about volunteering at a living history site! Here are some other living history sites within our Heritage Area:
Shawnee Town 1929– Shawnee, KS
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm in Olathe
Poplar Heights Living History Farm in Butler, MO
Missouri Town 1855– Lee’s Summit, MO
Fort Osage National Historic Landmark– Sibley, MO
Lanesfield Historic Site– Edgerton, KS
Old Prairie Town– Topeka, KS