World War II Living History
World War II Living Historians are similar to reenactors, except that they do not participate in battle reenactments. The purpose of living historians is to dress in appropriate clothing of the era and explain the role of the type of person they are portraying. Using the photos above for example, the woman in the peach-colored dress is dressed as an American woman on the Home Front during the war years. The volunteer would describe how women dressed during the 1940's and what activities they would participate in. The photo on the right shows a volunteer dressed as an American GI. His job would be to explain what life was like as a soldier during the war, as well as explain the purpose of the equipment and weapons he is carrying or that are on display.
There are many different personas that you can portray as a Living Historian, a few of which have been listed below:
"Rosie the Riveter" - women that worked in factories, filling jobs that men usually did.
Women's Military Auxiliary Services - such as the WACS, WAVES, WASPS, Women MMarines, and SPARS.
Civilians - dress as any civilian would during the war and educate visitors about rationing, shortages, Victory Gardens and patriotism during the war.
Men of the Home Front - those either too old or rated "4F" as unfit for military service.
Children of the Home Front - even your kids can participate as living historians, there is no age limit.
Military Branches other than the U.S. or German Armies - if your relative served as a Marine, and you want to portray one, you will have the opportunity. Military forces from other nationalities are welcome as well, such as the British, Canadians, or Soviets.
Living Historians will have the opportunity to participate in all sorts of events during the course of a year. Activities such as USO shows, parades, displays, and presentations are available for living historians. Living Exhibits are exhibits where living historians are completely in character while patrons view the exhibits. For example, a woman may be planting a Victory Garden while a tour guide explains to a tour the garden's purpose and how the government encouraged citizens to help the war effort by growing their own food.
Your primary purpose will be for education, so it is very important that you learn and understand the history of the person you are portraying. We can help you to learn this history (there are many resources available in our Research Library), and also help you to identify and locate 1940's era clothing for your living history impression.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a living historian and what it takes to participate, contact us with your questions.
World War II Reenacting and Living History