Monday, July 22, 2013

Bottomline: Crowds like the Boom

I'm experimentin.' And by "experimentin'" I mean "goofin' around." But I can't help it so here I go:

I have found video one of the more effective ways to communicate and have been pulling out all of my gear and equipment (I paused some of my projects that I now need to complete). I felt the need to stretch my video muscles a little this weekend. That started with a conversation I had with my husband on Saturday:

Me: "Have you ever seen a cannon fire?"

Him: "No."

Me (overly exasperated): "WHAT"

Him: "Where would I have seen that?"

He made a good point. He grew up in the midwest then moved out to the desert. There are few opportunities to see cannons in the desert. I saw a Facebook status posted by Stones River National Battlefield that reminded me that THIS was THE weekend. It was the artillery battery weekend. Traditionally, that meant six cannons would be wheeled out and fired as a demonstration with accompanying stories told by rangers and volunteers. I have only missed one of the past six years' worth of demonstrations (I was in Louisiana at the time).

"Well, lets go tomorrow!"

So he agreed. I got him to agree to go to the museum and see the battlefield because of cannons. Much to my chagrin, it was the idea of a big boom that drew him in the first place (as is the story for many visitors to the battlefield during these weekends). Big booms draw crowds. I had recently seen all sorts of conversation about living history's role in the presentation of the past (and then I have my personal views on living history activities). Bottom line: it does draw people who may not have visited the site otherwise. So I decided to capture some of it on my phone's camera and see how making a video would compare to the actual event. It is a step up from writing about the boom but far below the reverberations felt within my chest during the program. It is why most visitors on living history weekends attend in the first place: to experience that demonstration. What they walk away with is another story. It is how the programs are delivered that make the difference between a dog-and-pony show and quality interpretation.

Among other thoughts about living history, I'll save my opinions about the cheering and clapping and "festive" vibes that happen after the cannons fire for another post.

EDIT: I forgot my disclaimer! *The views (and video) contained within are my own, completed on my own time.

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