Civil War Civilian Living History

Interpreting the American Civil War Home Front

ALHFAM 2017: Part 2

Part 2 is text heavy, sorry about that. Didn’t take many pictures during the sessions. Some of the sessions I attended were, well, lack luster. So I’m going to concentrate on the sessions I really enjoyed.

The conference officially started off Saturday night with the opening reception and dinner. Dinner included specialties from the Fingerlakes area including garbage plates (with tutorial), buffalo wings, and beef on weck sandwiches. Also included white or red hots. Saturday began with breakfast and the keynote speaker Dustin Growick from Museum Hack. They conduct out of the ordinary tours of various museums across the country. His talk was very entertaining and the tours sound like a lot of fun.

In the afternoon I attended a session on Cemetery Theatre in Hawai’i. I love cemeteries so anything to do with them will draw me in. The session covered how the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site produced this program in Honolulu. It is not a ghost tour, but as the presenter described it, more like dinner theater in a cemetery. Professional script writers and actors are involved in presenting different personalities buried in the cemetery or a composite personality from Hawai’i’s history. It was very interesting in hearing the steps involved and the challenges they encountered in making it a success.

Saturday night was dinner and the auction. The ALHFAM auction is a long standing tradition. Attendees bring items from their personal collections or sites to be auctioned either in the silent auction or the regular auction. I bid on several silent auction items and didn’t get any of them, but did win home made maple syrup from Howell Living History Museum in New Jersey.  I couldn’t resist taking a taste and it is very good. Not as sweet as store bought.

Sunday began with a very enjoyable session on taverns in early America. The session discussed the use of taverns in travel, the foods served, and, of course, drink. We were even served a rum punch at 9:30 in the morning. It was strong, but tasty; I could drink this while interpreting a tavern.

One of the reasons I attended the conference this year was to hear Carolann Schmitt’s talk historical clothing myths. Carolann did a great job and covered myths such as older women didn’t wear white, black was only for mourning, women had a rib removed for a smaller waist, all the myths we are familiar with. And she refuted them all. During the session, Kandie Carle let us know that she had printed Virginia and Michael Mescher’s information on color and 19th century photographs, “Understanding the Mystery of  19th Century Wet Plate Photographs and Color. Kandie has these for $10 if you would like one,

The afternoon was spent in sessions with Kandie. The first was Clothing Through Time. She had several individuals dressed in different time periods who then appeared behind a black lit screen and produced a silhouette. This was very helpful as you were not distracted by all the trimmings and could concentrate on the shapes. After the models came out and discussed their outfits. The second session was on developing an impression. Kandie and Leah Lambert of the Old State House Museum discussed how to develop a first person impression and provided attendees with worksheets to help with the development; unfortunately the worksheets are not available to the public.

Monday night was the Presidential Banquet. At some conferences, this includes a fashion show with those dressed in period clothes. The venue this year did not allow for the fashion show, however. I had brought my black dinner dress, new white waist, all my undergarments, except my hoop. So I did not dress out, although a few others did. The venue was at the Village Gate, an old factory repurposed into boutique shops, offices and open art space.


















And Bevo was visiting.

Entertainment for the event included pipes and drums, and Irish dancing. I

The next post will have many more photos from Genesee Country Village and Museum.

Categories: Civil War