View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Wed Sep 15th, 2010 02:31 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 981

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I just wonder at what point, if any, visual history will replace the printed word as the primary way the public learns about history.
Wouldn't re-enactors and living history presentations fit as visual history? Mark brought up the fact that people were learning history from movies at least as far back as the '20s. I recently saw CameronsHighlander mention re-enacting going back to the Roman times and bring up naval engagements being held in ampitheaters and re-enactments of battles such as Thermoply and Marathon. What are the chances people learned their history from watching these?

My point is that we can't just rely on books or even an enviroment where learning can be maintained. We have to try and use everything possible to encourage an interest, even if what it has to say about history is not compeltely accurate. It doesn't matter how well maintained the enviroment is if a person is not interested. If their not interested their not going to be willing to learn. Use things to fuel an interest in the subject then once fueled build that interest so they can understand the difference between what's seen and what may actually have been.

Re-enactors and living history presentations are better than TV and movies, but their not infalible. In the War Reenactments thread ( it's brought up that a WWII vet offered to show WWII re-enactors how they actually wore their uniforms and gear only to be told they didn't need his help because they'd watched movies and photos of how to wear these things and what to carry. The man then explained that these movies and photos had been done before the soldiers actually entered combat so that the actual way had changed. And I got into discussion with a re-enactor years ago concerning the Congressional Medal of Honor and he tried telling me I had no idea what I was talking about only to have another re-enactor back me up. The discussion was about the creation of the medal and I'd just recently read about the order of creation online, the guy backing me up had read a book on the medal. It comes down to what has been learned as to what can be passed on. And what has been learned may have itself come from visual sources.

With re-enactors you also get back to interest in the subject. If they were not interested in the period their re-enacting then would they be re-enacting that period at all. Or even putting enough effort into learning about the era to get it right?

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