Do you really know what happened at Gettysburg or the Battle of New Orleans? The best way to find out is to relive it.
Today, there are dozens of dedicated historical societies acting around the U.S. Most specialize in recreating bloody battles. But often, they also depict the daily life of civilians, women and children.
Whatever the era, they’re the most entertaining and hands-on way to study American history.
While there are enough re-enactments to fill a history buff’s calendar, here are six re-enactments every American should see.
1.) “Unto These Hills.” A tragic tale of broken agreements that shaped a Native American nation, “Unto These Hills” is pure drama, accentuated by pyrotechnic special effects and its natural backdrop — a sky full of stars. Written by the late American playwright Kermit Hunter, “Unto These Hills” depicts the sufferings of the Cherokee tribe over the course of 300 years. With 288,000 current members, the Cherokee is the second biggest tribe in the U.S. This live, outdoor production takes place every Monday through Saturday evening in the summer.
The performance is held at the 2,100-seat Mountainside Theatre located at, where else, 688 Drama Road in Cherokee, North Carolina.
2.) The British Invasion. For a crash course in American Revolutionary War history, head to Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. The former home of Thomas Jefferson, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, usually hosts a re-enactment of the 1781 British invasion every June. The weekend’s stars are the Virginia militia, British Dragoons, and Redcoats — all armed and dressed accordingly.
Still, they’re not too busy fighting to take time to meet with visitors, offer tours of their encampments and demonstrate musket and cannon firings. There’s even a muster drill program for kids.
3.) Green River Rendezvous. Soldiers aren’t the only late Americans worth knowing. Mountain men played an important role in the history of trade and white settlement in the west. Every July, the Green River Rendezvous in Pinedale, Wyoming, attracts thousands who come to mingle with the bearded, beaver-skin-adorned men paying homage to the likes of Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and Thomas Fitzpatrick. Pioneer women and Plains Indians are also present because, after all, the original rendezvous were trading events.
While in Pinedale, visit the Museum of the Mountain Man to see the Hugh Glass exhibit. Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Glass in “The Revenant” won him his first Oscar for Best Actor. (click on page 2 for the rest of the story) [lz_pagination]