Monday, January 20, 2014

The Midwest Civilian Conference for Civil War Living Historians

The Midwest Civilian Conference for Civil War Living Historians

This past weekend my husband, Todd Harrington, and I presented a program on 19th Century photography to the Midwest Civilian Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We provided tips to participants on how the original characters advised their peers to dress for a 19th Century image.

It was such a delightful privilege for us to participate in this conference. Todd and I are both Midwesterners by birth and temperament and truly enjoyed being able to contribute to this event.  We only regret we were unable to stay and enjoy all of the presentations. However, modern life and our day jobs put a crimp in our plans.

We truly appreciated being able to meet and visit with the organizers, participants, presenters and vendors – many of which are long time friends. And we always love meeting new people who study the American Civil War and strive to improve their knowledge and impressions.

The folks who organize this conference are first rate historians; they foster an atmosphere of collaboration and sharing knowledge; they encourage people to improve their impressions and only offer advice when asked. Although, if one asks, one should expect honest responses and accept those suggestions with grace. 

True students of material culture notice the details and see those details with a 19th Century eye. When looking at an original garment or accessory or household item or when viewing an original photograph, they see context, proportion, and texture. Not everybody has that ability. But the students of history who organize this event do have the insight and abilities to see with that 19th Century eye. And that is why this was such a privilege. And they care1 Kudos!

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