To “do” living history you must create a “history” to
interpret. This history will be determined a great deal by the event you are participating in and the environment you have
available to you, but even more so by your impression. Your clothes, props, and even your activities at events are dictated
by your impression. Some events may require an impression specific to a time and place; however, the majority of events in
Texas are not place and time specific, so a general impression will do for most Texas events.
an impression does not mean exclusively participating in first person activities. An impression can facilitate public interaction
and gives you a focal point from which to answer questions from the public, whether it is in first or third person.
Whether you decide to do
first or third person, you will need to research your impression. You will need a basic understanding of the world and Texas
of the mid-1800s—what your impression would and would not know, what they would experience and understand, their beliefs
and attitudes. Other pages on this site will help you with your research. You do not need to know everything. Don't hesitate
to claim ignorance on any appropriate subject; however, when you do impart information, make sure it's accurate.
Impression Development Questions
Below are basic questions to help you develop an impression. Later, if you wish to develop a more in depth
impression, you might want to consider reading Past into Present by Stacy F. Roth. Her book includes other questions
that will help you add more dimensions to your impression
What is your name? Where were you born? Do you read and write? What is
your state of health? What diseases have you suffered? Do you have an occupation? Are you married? What are
the typical daily, weekly, seasonal, and annual skills that you need to know? Do you have any unique skills or talents? Are there customary talents that are common to your station, status and class? Do you possess common knowledge and/or
survival tactics specific to your era, station, status, and class? How do you get from one place to the other? What
clothing is typical of your station? Do you own property? Do you have an opinion regarding the war? What is it? What effect has the war had on you personally?
Roles for Women
Wife/daughter of tradesman
Town gossip, busybody,
Society matron, social belle
Entertainer, singer, actress
Public speaker-social issues, reform, etc
Roles for Men Mayor, congressman, government bureaucrat