The «living history» in the interpretation of heritage

The «living history» in the interpretation of heritage
The «living history» in the interpretation of heritage

The term «living history», which could be translated as 'historical re-enactment', refers to an option, mainly used in English-speaking centers and not yet widely used in Spain, through which the transmission of knowledge "in situ", geographically and temporally speaking. That is, the experience of how a period of the past must have been in/through the material vestiges of said past.

medieval reconstruction

For this, one of the possible ways is staging; At this point, we should not confuse those performances at a given time by groups of actors in museums or interpretation centers (such as the sessions of the Theater Museum in Zaragoza, for example) with the staging of «living history». This last class is the result, in general, of the work carried out by groups or associations of historians or those interested in the matter who carry out real research work in order to remain faithful to the truth of each outfit, gesture or word that they stage.

Remarkable is the experience that these people experience: they don't dress up, they transform. The truth is that, in this way, it is impossible not to feel empathy for the society that is the object of the explanation, as well as interest and curiosity. Also in its favor is the fact that, at times, it is difficult to imagine the peculiaritiesof a time whose models are no longer the current ones, these recreations solving said problem.

A very well accepted resource, and related mainly to open-air museums, in Great Britain and France that still arouses susceptibilities in Spain, some critics coming to see in it a distorted proposal of history. In reality it is very possible to fall into it, everything depends on the ethics of those responsible for the animation: it is difficult for a historian in love with the Middle Ages to falsify data based on their wishes or expectations since their work will have been conscientious and their methodology exact.

In Spain you can also find associations of this kind, closely linked to military history, for example, and that participate in historical reconstructions before the public, such as the Leibstandarte Historical Reconstruction Group (World War II), the Easy Red (II G.M.), the association Ay, Carmela (Spanish Civil War) or the ACCH (Catalan Association of Historical Uniform Collectors). All of them emphasize their non-adscription to a specific ideology, their desire to recover and preserve historical memory and the importance of reconstruction.

Another period of history that could not fail to have its fans is of course the Middle Ages: the Alcaçar de Brioga association is a medieval and Renaissance recreation group that belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and that it has a club category rather. The Roman era has its reconstructionist project in Nova Roma in Spain,which also maintains a non-commercial principle of constitution, in the Ludus Hispaniense dedicated to gladiator fights or in the Legio V group centered on the Roman army of Augustus. There are other examples, such as the Clan del Cuervo, which was in charge of the life of the Scandinavian peoples during the High Middle Ages, or the Sanjuanistas de Caspe, dedicated to the Caspe Commitment and with a much more theatrical character.

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