Civil War Civilian Living History

Interpreting the American Civil War Home Front

Getting Started

Much of the information in these sections is authored by others in the living history community and is used with their permission. None of the information in these sections may be reproduced without the permission of the website owner and/or the author(s).

984235_10151389172737126_1556221450_nCivil War civilian living history can be a very rewarding and fun hobby. But finding the information to get started can be frustrating and confusing. Do you need to belong to a group? What do you wear? Where can you buy the stuff? How do you develop an impression? What is “living history”? The information on this site will guide you through the process of putting together the basics you are comfortable with and without wasting money. This first basic impression will allow you to attend most events comfortably and will act as a springboard if you wish to more fully develop your impression or add impressions.

When you first step out into the world of the Civil War living history forums, list serves and other helpful medium, it can be very overwhelming. Many of the online resources for Civil War living history have search functions that allow you to search for information posted on a particular subject. But how can you use the search function if you don’t know what to search for? This is also the case in Internet research for the beginner. Included on the various pages of this site are links to other sites and research that will help you put together a basic impression so that you do not have to guess and spend hours searching for the information you need to answer your basic questions. The resource pages include books, websites, patterns, and suppliers along with the information you will need to get the most out of each resource.

One hard truth of living history is the cost. This is not a cheap hobby. One way to keep costs down is not to buy unnecessary items and to make your purchases count. Buying cheap, low-quality items with the intent to upgrade later can actually cost you more in the long run than purchasing good quality, accurate items to start with. Many new participants are looking for one of everything, without having the experience to put together an ensemble that makes sense. Others are guided to a hardscrabble lower class look by well-intentioned mentors because it is a relatively cheap outfit to make out of materials you can purchase locally. It is possible to do a high quality upper class impression on a relatively low budget if you plan carefully. This site will help find an impression or impressions that fit YOU and then help you figure out what you initially need to build a wardrobe no matter what impression YOU choose.