In November 2015, NPR put out the call for answers to this question: “What Do We Do Now In America the Same Way We Did It 100 Years Ago?” AASLH shared the story on our Facebook page, encouraging our members to help crowd-source the answer.
In late January, NPR published the results in “American History Lives: A Story Of The People, By The People, For The People,” listing hundreds of living history sites, museums, media resources, craftsmen, farms, mills, schools, and other sites and individuals keeping history alive.
Americans are doers. In the United States today, history is an action word. This is, after all, a participatory democracy, and people are participating in its history by volunteering, crafting, interpreting, re-enacting, re-creating and exploring the old — anew…
As the crowd of sources points out in this crowdsourced story, a fair number of our present-day neighbors in the United States dwell in the past — hunting or gathering or going through days (or parts of days) as their ancestors did. They dress up in vintage clothes, speak in distant syntax, use their hands and brains like citizens of yore. Teachers and interpreters demonstrate and explain antiquated activities. Growers adhere to time-honored methods. Makers shape things using the tools and materials of years past. Sellers hawk products today that were available 100 years ago and more. Companies continue to create centuries-old wares.
Included in the article are at least 25 AASH members, from giants in history like Colonial Williamsburg to the mid-sized Historic Prairie Village in South Dakota to several historical societies throughout the country using growing or building practices to interpret the past. Early on, the article mentions ALHFAM, the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums, a member of AASLH since 2000.
Is your organization mentioned in NPR’s anecdotal survey of living history in America? If it is, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to share the relevance of living history with your visitors and community.