Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
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Civil War re-enactors, men and women who dress in
1860s-era clothing and learn military and domestic skills from the war period, seek to make the past physically present in their
own lives and, at least temporarily, in the lives of their audiences. The re-enactor’s impression, the historical personality or role they inhabit during an event, turns abstract historical concepts into lived experience.
By combining the results of in-depth interviews, a survey, and participant observation this study argues that scholars have underestimated the participants and the hobby’s role in American culture. A surface-level reading of the hobby, that its participants are little more than “rednecks” and “hillbillies,” is incorrect and ignores the value the hobby creates by enacting American heritage for an audience.