Lang 45th Anniversary and 1812 Re-enactment...
by Festival Correspondent, Judi "Scoop" McWilliams
War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration & 45th Anniversary Celebration ~ Lang Pioneer Village & Museum 2012
The weekend of August 18th & 19th, 2012 was an extremely special occasion for our friends at Lang Pioneer Village & Museum. With over 2 years or hard work, research and dedication, Lang was able to present the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration & 45th Anniversary Celebration.
Prior to the event, I had opportunity to speak with Manager, Joe Corrigan, and Assistant Manager Laurie Siblock. Legacy is a promise unfulfilled.
Joe feels ~ the whole time they have been working on this project at Lang, they realized how they can make this special event have great impact - make it special. Joe learned that if it hadn’t been for the 1st Nations 1-1,500 from a Non 1st Nations, our country wouldn’t be what it is today. We need to learn from that knowledge and learn a better respect to the 1st Nations. Lang went the extra distance to include the 1st Nations, fulfill their obligation.
In saying that, Laurie and Joe helped me understand that through these “Living History interpretations”, two-way communications is a better way of understanding. The hands on, look, try and see, through demonstrations, goes a long way in assisting with our understand and appreciation of this important part of our history. Laurie tells us ~ with regard to the artifacts, we might not know how to use, but through a lot of training we learn how to teach people the ongoing traditional skills. Actual demonstrations are always a challenge. Laurie goes on to say ~ if the artifact in not used, it becomes an intangible. item lost. It is critical to know how to operate Artifacts. People may look at an artifact and ask “what is this”, if you don’t learn and use the artifact it becomes an orphan, becoming uncomprehending on how used and what was. The good news is that through research, we can carry on skills through workshops and demonstrations from rope making, broom making, weaving and so many more skills and activities. Joe and Laurie credit the guilds and societies in the community for their skills, passions, and dedications to relaying these unique talents to the new interpreters of today. The knowledge of Lang's volunteers, to give visitors the Living History Product that Lang delivers, is outstanding.
I asked Joe what is it that we will loose if we do not commemorate History … Joe explains ~ more people (especially our youth) engages in video games, spending more and more in revenue into movies and things that just are not reality. He says if the power went out you have nothing. In 150-200 years from now, nothing will last. Understanding of the culture in the current society is more transactional than anything else. Today’s society is documented on video, camera, what will last? It will be difficult in the future to get perspective of the now. If we don’t continue our quest to appreciate, preserve and respect history, the legacy … if you don’t pay attention to history, we will be doomed.
Fortunately for us all, Lang Pioneer Village & Museum is constantly changing to keep up with the massive collections. The County continues to be supportive and they continue to enhance the site and preserve a lot of different legacies. Joe says ~ “Passion is contagious around here at Lang”. It is easy to be passionate when so many people dedicate so much time and effort”. The 45th Anniversary Celebration was outstanding; the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration was by far second to none! With efforts from contributors by the 49th Regiment of Foot, Norwood District High School, the East Northumberland Secondary School and the Curve Lake First Nations in an authentic regalia; period music performed by Gopher Baroque; profiles of the women of 1812 with Pauline Grondin; key figures of the War of 1812 including Sir Isaac Brock, Tecumseh and Laura Secord; War of 1812 exhibits; free horse & wagon rides; a battle reenactment and mini-militia drill training; crafts for kids; a First Nations War Council and much much more! What a treat for all! Congratulations to the staff, volunteers, supporters, participants and visitors on such a successful Celebration!