The HIVE Presents
The New England Living History Challenge

How did it go? Read the Hive Blog post: Tuesday, August 28, 2012: The Challenges of the Challenge.

"Challenge"—definition—"A test of one's abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking"

Are you looking to take your impression to the next level?

Do you need some motivation to do some new research and start a new sewing project?

Then perhaps it's time for you to take The Hive's New England Living History Challenge!

The goal of the Hive's New England Living History Challenge is to raise the level of our 18th century interpretations and have an event to show off all that hard work. The Challenge is open to all area reenactors from the newbie to the seasoned veteran—anyone looking to take their impression to new heights over the course of a year under the guidance of, and with support from, the Hive community.

The guiding principals of this challenge are consistent with the Hive's mission of providing a fun and welcoming environment in which to help others improve their impressions with the sharing of research and information. The Challenge is meant to be fun, educational and by its name: a challenge.

The Concept!

We are planning a Muster Day event to be held on Saturday, August, 25, 2012 at Minute Man National Historical Park. The year is 1773 and the community is coming out in their best, for a public display of their militia's preparedness. You will be portraying the level of society that you choose and are able to dress to. During the preparation process you will develop a profile of the type of person that you will be portraying, all social classes documentable to 18th century New England are welcome.

We are encouraging participants to create a new outfit for this event, though it is not necessary to participate. However, items of your current kit need to either meet the standards or be altered to meet them.

We will be meeting before each Hive this season to answer questions, and help you along.

In addition, we have created two blogs and so you can follow 20 people, from newcomers to Hive instructors, and see how they are approaching this challenge. We also have a Facebook page as a forum for participants to ask questions and share what they are doing.

See our website to review the requirements. If you'd like to take the challenge, sign up on the website, where you can find all the information you need to get going.

A Juried Event

This event will be juried. A standards committee has been established and is comprised of four experienced re-enactors/Hive instructors. The purpose of the committee is to maintain the standards established for this event, and the help participants through the process. To prevent misunderstandings, the jurying process will be ongoing during the course of the year to avoid wrong turns and keep everyone on track. The objective is to work with each participant in the development of their kit and the necessary documentation. An important element of this challenge is to develop research skills that can be used for this and other events and projects in the future. It's not as daunting as it sounds!

About the Standards

The Authenticity Guidelines for The Challenge are specifically designed to take the existing Battle Road and Park volunteer standards to a higher level with the addition of an inspection and documentation element for all participants.

Very few of the people who will sign up currently meet all the standards for this event—if they did, it wouldn't be a challenge. The standards are specifically stricter to increase the overall authenticity of the event, and to push participants to make improvements. However, the standards are still attainable yet are among the highest in the hobby.

We are striving for 100% hand stitched clothing, but will allow machine seams if they are not visible. The clothing itself must be documentable to 1773. We would like to avoid styles of clothing that are too far behind the times and more importantly eliminate fashion that is too far forward. In addition, we are asking participants to create an impression of a New Englander, so even though certain garments can be documented to the period, they also need to be appropriate for this location. Items that may be fitting for the French Court in 1773 are not necessarily appropriate for Concord in 1773.

An element of this challenge, that may be new to many, is the request that you provide written documentation of your kit as well as your impression. It's not as daunting as it sounds. You are not required to "be" a specific person unless you want to, rather you should be giving thought to the kind of person you are portraying, indicating social class, type of work you might do, etc. This will help you to determine what you are wearing and with whom you will interact. Your clothing will also need supporting documentation from a period source. Don't worry; there will be help available for this part. However, this exercise is meant to help you develop your research skills and gain greater confidence in your clothing choices.