L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, NF, August 1996
Strictly speaking, this two week long living history presentation was not
a DARC event, but the experiences gained there would shape the evolution of
the Company. Darrell Markewitz was approached by Parks Canada to organize a
demonstration of living history technique centred on the Viking Age to take
place in the reconstructed turf houses on the L'Anse aux Meadows site. Vandy
Simpson and Neil Peterson were chosen as the backbone of the four person interpretive
The presentation included the use of about 250 detailed replicas of period objects: domestic goods, cooking equipment, simple textile tools, woodworking tools, basic blacksmithing equipment, weapons, storage, a tent and bed. For the program, a scenario had been written, including character outlines for 'Ragnarr' (Neil), 'Bera' (Vandy) and 'Kettil' (Darrell).
Physical demonstrations on the site included textile production, cooking, carving and even blacksmithing.
The exhibit proved a resounding success, proving to Parks Canada the utility and popularity of living history interpreters at this Viking Age site. It would result in the creation of a full time interpretive program for LAM which started in 1997 and continues to the present day. The genesis of the 'Viking Millennium Grand Encampment' special event and the 'Norstead' historic attraction can be directly attributed to ideas contributed by this re-enactment team.
On the return to Ontario, many of the lessons learned from the successful program at LAM were applied to a series of general group discussions that would lead to the formation of DARC's basic operating principles and camp rules. Techniques of physical presentation within a museum environment now standard in DARC were also largely based on the Norse Encampment experiences.Although photography inside the structures proved a little challenging the are some pictures including these:
|Ragnarr||Bera talks to visitors||The compound at LAM|