Whether you’re a reenactor, sutler, event coordinator, or employee or docent at an historic site, you likely understand that the living history community is facing tremendous challenges. It’s aging. It feels like we’re struggling to remain relevant, to capture and maintain the attention of the general public. Many historic sites are struggling with funding and attendance. A number of events and interpretive groups have come and gone. Conventional methods of marketing and promotion just aren’t working like they use to.
There are countless factors behind these challenges. One of the problems we face, for a lack of a better word, is that we’re isolated. We’re all working within our own little bubbles of influence, focusing on the survival of our own entities rather than on fostering the growth of the collective community.
In some ways, we’re competing against each other for the same pie, rather than growing this pie larger and larger so we don’t have to compete. There is plenty of interest out there to support everyone who wants to do this. We need to bring more and more people into participating in living history and not just watching it.
That’s what this website is all about. What if we concentrate on reaching the public? What if we could entice the general public to not only take an interest in history and in what we are doing, but to participate as well?
One of the major barriers that have kept people from engaging is that the tools to help them don’t exist. People have an interest in history; some have even gone to an event or an historic site, but they lack the resources to connect further with the living history community.
We can offer tools that can be available to everyone:
- An online calendar of events
- A directory of historic sites, interpretive groups, and individuals who are interested in mentoring.
- The ability to search for sites and events in proximity to your zipcode.
- A centralized and searchable marketplace for living historians to buy, sell, and trade.
- A centralized and searchable marketplace for craftspeople to sell their wares.
- A place where we can share ideas, as well as our research, through blogs, forums, podcasts, and videos.
We are in no way trying to replace the excellent tools, publications, blogs, etc., that already exist. In fact, our vision is exactly opposite of that. We want to draw outside people in, and then point them to resources that are in place. We also envision greater opportunities for additional contributors. By bringing it all together in one place, and by offering a critical mass of activity, it becomes easier to promote to the general public.
And promotion is a strength Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc. brings to this table. Anyone who has attempted to gain promotional traction through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., knows how difficult that process is. We’ve been at it for almost a decade. Our YouTube channel presently has over 7-million views and we’re approaching 70,000 loyal and very enthusiastic subscribers. Our biggest subscriber growth comes from members of the general public who are interested in history but who are presently not involved in living history or reenacting.
The opportunities are enormous, and they are increasing exponentially. We plan to use this market presence to promote this vision, these tools for the public, and these opportunities to work together for lovers of history, historical interpreters, historical event coordinators, craftspeople, sutlers, reenacting groups, and historic sites.
There’s no end to how we can work together to keep history alive for generations to come.
Information. Resources. Community. Opportunity.