Wednesday, January 4, 2017

13 Historical Activities under $25 While Visiting The Citizen's Forum Conference

We are fast approaching The Citizen's Forum of the 1860s in March! While I am excited to meet again with friends and share in learning, many have asked about the activities available here in Michigan, as people are flying in from all over (So far Texas is the farthest, but there is still time for more miles) With the conference at such an affordable rate ($110 for adults, $45 teens), one can bring the whole family to enjoy history!

Here is my list of 13 things one can do while attending the conference here in Michigan. Admission to all ranges from the awesome *Free to $20. All are within an hour drive time of the conference, with a few just down the street!
Attend the Friday Soiree!
The Sawyer Homestead has graciously become our sponsor, and your registration includes an invitation to the party! The large home was built in 1873, and is run by a passionate historical group. Expect food, 19th century band, games, and a picturesque setting in which to have your likeness taken. Feel free to wear your 19th century clothing, or modern wear if you prefer.

Free Workshop at The Clements Library
This workshop is also FREE! We only have 10 seats left, so sign up now if you're interested!

Ellis Library's George Armstrong Custer Collection

The Ellis Library in Monroe is giving attendees of the conference exclusive access to their collection of Custer artifacts, from photographs to maps and other related items. Access is available 12-4pm on Friday, March 24. There's nothing like a research trip for the history-loving soul!

The Monroe County Courthouse
The current courthouse was built in 1880, and is breathtaking in person. I highly reccomend photos of the building, and there is an historical marker. Be aware-it is still a working courthouse!

The River Raisin Battlefield
Did you know Michigan had a battlefield? During the war of 1812, American soldiers clashed with British/Indian forces. After the battle, an estimated 30-100 surrendered American soldiers were scalped and murdered, with the Frenchtown settlement plundered. The site of the River Raisin Massacre in now on the register of National Register of Historic Places. You can visit today, with trails to peruse and a friendly visitor's center. 

Monroe County Historical Museum
Open from 11-5, this museum is free for Michigan residents, with a suggested donation of $5 for adults. Such a wealth of knowledge about the Monroe area! There is also a research room upon request, though you should contact the museum in advance. The building is down the street from the Sawyer Homestead, and about 10 minutes away from Monroe Community College. 

University of Michigan Museum of Art 
While admission is free, a $10 donation is suggested. Open from 11-5, you can treat yourself to sculptures from the masters of the19th century. The gallery also includes famous medieval paintings, including Madonna and Child with St. Thomas Aquinas. You will be in awe of this spacious art museum, and the several floors of wonders.

University of Michigan Law Quad/Library
Rumor on campus is that the great hall from the Harry Potter films was inspired by this library's swooping gothic architecture. You will still see hurried law students with a nose in a book; be quiet if you go inside! Another reason this place is so magical? The author's fiance proposed to her on a bench out front. Now that is a reason for an historical marker if I ever heard one.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
This museum is truly moving and inspiring. Watching the African American community struggle through slavery in the 19th century and rise through racial inequality is a truly humbling experience. Prepare for thoughtful exhibits, with information about the 19th century and the Underground Railroad included. The museum is absolutely beautiful, and admission is free!

The Detroit Institute of Art
Have you ever wanted to see a Picasso or a Van Gogh up close and personal? Do you love suits of armor? Medieval paintings? Lunch while looking at thousand year old sculptures? This world class museum hosts many floors of awesomeness, from modern art to ancient Roman jewelry. There's currently an exhibition about historic tea/chocolate! Admission is free to residents of the tri-county area, and only $12.50 for adults. Seriously, eat lunch in Kresage Court and breath in the history.

Detroit Historical Museum
The Motor City runs on wheels! You can see the history of the automotive industry, as well as the other interesting bits of Michigan history. There is currently an exhibit featuring Michigan in the Civil War, from women to The Iron Brigade. They are open 9:30-4, and admission is free!

Ye Olde Tap Room
I realize that this has nothing to do with the Civil War, but...have you ever visited a real bling pig? Used during Prohibition to help Detroiters keep their collective whistle wet, the Purple Gang even used the basement as a speakeasy. There are at least 285 brews available, making this perusal of history more of an adult trip, to say the least!

The Henry Ford Museum
And last but certainly not least...this museum is known around the world for good reason! Here you can see the chair that Lincoln was shot in, sit in the exact spot where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, look at the car that held Kennedy's last moments, and witness George Washington's camp bed. If that's not enough, go check out the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile! With admission at $20, this is the most expensive thing on the list. Trust me-it's worth the price!

There are certainly more historical things to do in Michigan, as this list barely scratches the surface. Remember, the free workshop has a limited number of seats, so sign up sooner rather than later! Click the link below to go to The Citizen's Forum of the 1860s website.


Until next time my friends...

~Kristen

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fort Wayne Christmas 2016

With all the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, I almost forgot about my Christmas at Fort Wayne. Ha! Just kidding. We've been talking about it for awhile, and it's awesome.
*If it's a nice picture in this post, it's from Ken Giorlando

Every year a few of us take over the Commander's house in Historic Fort Wayne, Detroit. I play the role of Ken's daughter, with my step-mother, grandmother, and aunt to help me "mind my manners." And of course Candace takes care of the kitchen, preparing an excellent Christmas Eve meal. We eat in the dining room, complete with all of the trappings and furnishings of the Victorian Era (my grandma would call these items "ditzy shitzies.") We do our best to remain in first person for the better part of an entire day. 
I ALWAYS overeat!
And we do our best not to break any ornaments
 I catch up on a little reading

The house itself dates back to the late 19th century. Despite the fact that I've "lived" in this house for many years, I always find a new object or view. During the day this house feels comfortable, lived-in, and warm. I wandered off alone to take a second look, and found myself loving this house all over again. One can appreciate history in the light...


...but in the dark, does it not take a sinister appearance? Those beloved mirrors, the soft comfort of the bed transformed into a mess of tangled shadows. Not surprisingly, many people have sighted a ghost in this house. For some reason I've never felt quite afraid there. Wandering around in the dark with a single candle did feel a bit like a Gothic novel. I did notice an opened cabinet in a room that had previously been closed...a gust of wind? An old house settling? I closed it with a shake of my head and returned to the party. Oh the mood of these rooms...

Unfortunately, all good parties must come to an end. This celebration marks the end of my Civil War reenacting in Michigan, and helps me to reflect upon what I'd like to see for myself next year. From here on out, modern festivities with my 10,000 relatives will take over. I'll be making dozens of cookies while pondering the reality of A Christmas Carol. Ah, the holidays!
I'd like to see more ghosts

~Kristen

Thursday, December 1, 2016

40+ Gift Ideas For the History Lover

So for those of you who know, I reenact in like, a million different time periods. I've been asked, "what do you get from each?" This year I'll be publishing my wish list for Christmas 2017. For those of you who have loved ones who LOVE history like I do, this might be a great place to look for gifts!

I've decided to separate these into price ranges, without a specific time period because I reenact from 18th century to Edwardian. I'm interested in quite a few topics, so it's not unusual for me to be thinking of 18th century recipes in one moment and Victorian surgery practices in the next. If it feels all over the place, well...it is! Also, I would like us to support the small business owners of the living history community!

These presents can be stocking stuffers or the *perfect* addition to an impression. Now, this is just an idea to start-if I've forgotten something very important (which is possible, because there are so many amazing period vendors/items), feel free to add it in the comments below.
***Shipping not included in most prices
***Check for sales/coupons too!
Under $25


Under $100


$100+

And if you're looking for items in my shop, I've added new ones! Don't forget to use the coupon sale16 to get 15% off your entire order!
Click here to go to my etsy shop!

Happy shopping!

~Kristen

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