September 2020.
In an attempt to compare and contrast our hobby across the globe, we reached out to reenactors in Spain to share a profile of their version of the living history hobby.

We prepared a series of questions, to see if we could get a glimpse of living history in Spain from the beginning to current day.

Reenacting in Spain, started in the 1970's, and has experienced recent spikes in interest, owing to the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. The TV series Band of Brothers, has also sparked interest in living history. Field of participation range from Roman times, to 20th century.
Where Gettysburg is recognized as an anchor point (although certainly not the center) where people can come for living history, there is no comparable place in Spain. Events, like in the United States are being held all over, forming events that are for participants only, or those that can be viewed by the public. They are by and large held on public land, and neither participants nor spectators are charged to attend the event. There are now larger, for profit events, and Javier Planells said that his unit does attend the larger events. He observed that they "are lucrative for the organizers, and not so much for the reenactors."

Being in Europe, they have availability and access to structures that were used centuries before the formation of the United States. Spanish Civil War reenactments are often held close the original ground. Medieval events are sometimes held in original castles.

There are some immersion events, as well as presentations for schools, and involvement in movies as extras. The tactical style events are expressly prohibited in Spain.
Groups and Organization.

There are several larger organizations in Spain, Battle Honours, 1707 Almansa, Voluntarios de Madrid, Burgos, 17IR, ... and, of course, Asociación Cultural de Amigos del Museo Histórico Militar de Valencia, (which started in 2003), Frente de Nalon and others. There are some very small groups, that Javier Planells refers to taxi cab units; meaning that you can fit the entire "regiment" in a taxi cab.

Enrique Menéndez, who is one of the leaders of the organization Frente de Nalón, said that they can attract anywhere from 100-150 participants at events. Napoleonic era has been known to attract even more.

The same social hierarchy exists within the reenacting community in Spain, as it does here, from off the street beginners to extreme immersionists. Mr. Menéndez lamented, that despite years of participation in reenacting, there are some that never get beyond that beginner level.

He also stated that there are those that thing that bigger is better. He said that some people thing that an event with 300 people is better than one with 100. He said that my group is of the opposite opinion, quality over quantity anytime.

In the early days of the hobby, for the Napoleonic Era, reenactment units were actually formed in small villages, and the ladies of the village would make the uniforms. Mr. Menéndez noted that in the case of the Spanish Civil War, getting reproductions is particularly difficult.
World War II has become so widespread, and international that obtaining original hardware, and event vehicles, are easy to obtain, relatively speaking. Whenever possible, we try to obtain original items, and if not, we have to find artisans to make reproductions, which are quite costly.

Javier Planells did note that the early days of the reenacting hobby in Spain had towns making their own reproductions, as not only national history, but civic price. This really took off after the bicentennial of the Peninsular War, but the events started to take on a life of their own, and became more festivals and town wide parties. Very few of these groups conduct any research on uniforms and equipment, and there are a lot of new groups that ask our association for guidance. Mr. Menéndez noted that these types of events are a catch 22 of sorts, while you do get wider exposure, it runs the risk of turning into a big costume party, and unfortunately several of the events have degenerated into that.
Mr. Planells observed that the trend, more and more, is the emergence of new groups which stress authenticity in clothing, militiary training and drill and deportment. Whenever possible, "we get advice and feedback from the veterans themselves."

   Firearms and Legislation.

Enrique Menéndez stated that the firearms legislation is strict, and they have had it far longer than in some parts of the United States. As a direct result of the terrorist attacks in Spain itself, firearms legislation has redoubled. Sergio Paredes noted, that in the past 10 years, as events have grown, so has the restrictions on firearms.
Goals and Objectives.

Javier Planells outlines the goals as Battlefield preservation, historical study and education of the public, honoring veterans and an furthering and study of Spanish cultural history.

Sergio Paredes has been in the hobby since 2013, and he sees and supports the goal of preserving the original grounds. Events should not be held on these sites, as they should be earmarked for preservation. He said that sites are actually preserved and are to be enjoyed by the public. When asked if historical preservation is a priority, Javier Planells said that, it cannot be otherwise, for a nation with 2,500 years of history!
Mr. Paredes astutely observed that the emphasis in the United States is to be accurate, authentic and historically precise. It can, at time, begin to eclipse the underlying purpose of historical preservation and honoring the service of veterans.

Mr. Menéndez, whose group focuses on the Spanish Civil War, stated that his group strives to focus on areas of history that are not covered in school textbooks. Through living history, we have acquired the tools to gain a historical understanding in a different and fun way.

Below are links to contact Srs. Javier Planels Ribera for Asociación Cultural de Amigos del Museo Histórico Militar de Valencia, and Enrique Menéndez, for Frente de Nalón.
Months of work and preparation have paid off with the completion of these truly glorious boots.

The gold foil debossing of these boots required that line for line vector artwork be created, to generate a plate.
Either of these styles are available by following the links below...
The massive collection of the salvaged wreck of the Bertrand is housed at the DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges, under the stewardship of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Every Thursday, they have
been showcasing parts of the collection on their facebook page, giving long distance access to the amazing treasures that they recovered and curated. Their History Thursday are something that everyone can enjoy. The only danger is that it will make you want to go visit the museum in person, which is always a good thing!.
Museo Histórico Militar de Valencia 
Military History Museum of Valencia

The Museum is located in the "San Juan Ribera" Barracks, located on the Boulevard de la Alameda, in the heart of Valencia. The building was built in 1898, being the successive headquarters of Infantry, Cavalry, Administration and Logistics Units.
The most striking feature of its construction, with a typical structure of the time to house military units, is its magnificent interior patio lined with tiles and with a mural dedicated to Spain that represents a gigantic tree whose roots go down in all its regions.
Its collections come mainly from the old Artillery Park and the V / 31 Maintenance Group. Different types of knives, rifles, pistols, heavy weapons and other materials related to the Army were recovered from this.
There are also flags, banners, scripts and confectioners of Units already dissolved in the Levante and Centro Military Region, which, together with the contributions of the Army Museum, of the Units dissolved in 1995 and the generosity of various individuals and their Association, today make up its permanent collection.
The museum was inaugurated on May 12, 1995, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.
With an exhibition area of ​​3,500 m2, the Museum presents the Military History of the Spanish Army, with special dedication to the former Levante and Centro Military Region. Its collections are exhibited in 24 rooms, 10 located on the ground floor and 14 on the upper floor. They show heavy materials from the Army's Weapons and Bodies, highlighting as the most significant pieces a disinfection tank from 1923 and a Russian-made tank T-26-B.
On the upper floor, there is a chronological succession of rooms that range from the 15th century to the present day with rooms
dedicated to Peace Missions and International Missions, flags and uniforms, militaria, models and dioramas with the military history of Valencia and of Spain throughout its long history.

Also noteworthy are those dedicated to the Spanish Civil War, Logistics, Health and famous people.

The gallery houses, among other works, the mural "Molí dels frares" by Campanar that represents the events that occurred in Salses

(Roussillon) in 1639 and "The taking of the Fort of the Collado de Alpuente", an oil painting by the painter José Cusachs dated in 1900.
Two of the rooms are specially dedicated to the many temporary exhibitions that take place throughout the year.
Ammunition and equipment for the maintenance of material for general or specific military use are also exhibited.

Other rooms display light weapons and bladed weapons, as well as artillery pieces and engineering equipment. A room dedicated to the Army and Valencia, whose central figure is the model of the Royal Palace of Valencia, destroyed in 1810, shows plans of projects for various barracks in the city.

The interpretive staff are volunteers who work with the museum to prepare programs for the public. They work with schools to adapt and tailor the program fit into the student's curriculum.
Calle General Gil Dolz, 6
46010 Valencia
Contacto: +34 961 96 62 15
We have been pursuing this project for over a decade, with stops and starts, and have finally brought this to fruition. We had begun this project with a mill that COULD have done the project, but the scale would not have been achievable. As life would roll out, even if the volume were to be achievable, the spinners that the mill was using has subsequently gone out of business.

Our initial sample runs were very positive, but the beginning production showed that the yarns were incompatible with the machinery, setting us back to the beginning. We ultimately had to have yarns custom spun, and the spinner worked directly with the mill to continue tweeking until the machines could run smoothly.

It is ironic to read period accounts of the use of knit goods, because it reflects the direct opposite of that was required to have the fabric reproduced. In the early part of the American Civil War, there was sudden and unexpected demand for textiles to clothe the army. Agents were sent abroad to purchase yard goods, while those at home worked beyond any previous capacity. Knit goods were looked to as a ready expedient. With woven goods, it can take anywhere from 20-60 hours to warp and prepare a loom, whereas a knitting machine can be threaded in less than 20 minutes. Moreover, the machines were marketed as being as having a very shallow learning curve, meaning that a moderately skilled person could be producing textiles in minutes.

While extent blouses are not known to exists, we did have the good fortune of examining an original pair of knit trousers that came for sale, first at an auction of 7th New York National Guard items, which was flipped a week later at the Hartford Civil War show. The obvious parts of the grouping went quickly, ie the knapsack, knife and kepi, but nobody could make sense of the trousers. Regretfully, having just purchased a Bartholomae Canteen, I did not have enough cash to buy them. I did however, explain to the dealer what he had, and he graciously allowed me to examine them.

Our blouse is based on this example, as well as the photographic evidence, which showed a binding as well as a welt pocket.
From the Trump of Fame, August 7th, 1861.
The elusive knit blouse!
Discounted magazine subscription offered to our cusotmers!
Molly Faulkner.
Molly first got bitten by the history bug in 2002 when her parents took her to a reenactment as an eleven year old spectator. The event was hosted at a park in Madison Connecticut. Most likely owing to her youth, her parents were dead set against her joining. As fate would have it, as she grew to the ripe old age of 14, her first boyfriend entered her life, by coincidence was in the reenacting hobby. He rekindled her history bug, and in Februrary 2007 she attended her first event as a participant. She hasn't left since, and has been in the hobby 13 years still going strong in the hobby

She sews most of her own clothing. Her
grandmother taught her how to embroider as well as other types of needlework.

She also dabbled in blacksmithing although she hasn't lit her forge in awhile. I do have some projects that I need to do with the forge so it has been calling to me.
 About 5yrs ago, she jumped into the ream of WWII reenacting, but has only had fleeting participation, but the main attraction is the man in her life, who is her true love, is a WWII reenactor. What draws her most to the 1940's era is the clothing, different set of people and the travel.

AS for the future of the hobby, she states that she'd like to see more young blood. When she joined in 2007 she was the youngest girl at all the events and found herself hanging out with the adults.

She has made good use of the shut down of the pandemic, as does every seamstress has that box of unfinished projects. During this time of isolation she been making that box shrink, looking forward to the events and experiences that lie ahead.
Catching up on orders and Building stock!
We are starting to pull ahead and catch up on some long standing orders. Before long we will be kicking things into high gear, and building up some stock.
We have Yancey Dean haversscks in stock in our awesome new hand woven cotton. This is a limited run, and is the best that we have ever had...

We also have more knit shirts, and are working on a new run of Federal Issue Gaiters and Spratt cans. Follow us on facebook for updates!
Today we are fighting to secure three tracts that will be vital additions to the preserved land at Gettysburg.
First, we look to the southern end of the battlefield in part on the south slope of Big Round Top and along the banks of Plum Run. On July 2, 3 and 4, 1863, anyone standing on this land would have seen the battle swirling around them – marching, fighting, and artillery fire over the course of all three days.
This tract abuts preserved land on two sides. If we are unable to save this property, it’s likely that a housing subdivision of large-lot “McMansions” – interfering with the views of Big Round Top – will soon pop up on this parcel.
Next, is a small but crucial parcel on lower Cemetery Hill, in the shadow of Culp’s Hill. It includes the historic home owned at the time of the battle by James McKnight. He had purchased the house, barn and five acres of
land in 1860 and that year’s census records him as a 42-year-old farmer who lived with his 30-year-old wife, Margaret Ann, and a one-year-old daughter Jane. Three years later, the largest battle ever fought in North America swept over their farm . . .
Tens of thousands of Union troops marched right in front of, paused on, passed over, fought on or were buried on the McKnight Farm on July 1 and 2. On July 1, as the Union met disaster north and west of Gettysburg, Northern troops fell back to and fortified Cemetery Hill. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock ordered Captain Greenleaf Stevens’ 5th Maine Battery to occupy McKnight’s Hill, now known as Stevens Knoll.
The final parcel is immediately south of the McKnight House on the Baltimore Pike and witnessed those same important events. In the last two decades, the construction of the Comfort Suites hotel directly across the Baltimore Pike – along with the popularity of the National Park Service Visitor Center – has made this tract, already zoned for commercial use, ripe for further development.