Considering Re-enactments: The Battle of Germantown in the Light of 21st–Century Gun Violence

Mar 30, 2021
  • Description

In response to feedback from the local community and an era of gun violence in the United States, Cliveden initiated conversations with local and re-enactment communities about the relevancy and impact of the site's signature event, the Revolutionary Germantown Festival featuring re-enactments of the Battle of Germantown. The central purpose of the project was to gather reactions from key stakeholders and input from scholars to wrestle with the organization's interpretation of the American Revolution. How can Cliveden tell the authentic story of the Battle of Germantown that is relevant to the community and not an over-simplified version front loading violence? How can Cliveden include different perspectives in the re-enactment? With societal shifts over the past 40 years and an increase of violence, Cliveden was compelled to confront these questions to face the reality of gun violence in everyday American life. The hope was to discover the impact the current interpretation of Revolutionary-era history has on the communities Cliveden serves.

Through eighteen months that included the start of a worldwide pandemic, Cliveden with project partners and consultants met both virtually and onsite with small groups to hear from constituents what mattered, what worked and what needed help. Data was also gathered using surveys and in-person interviews during a re-vamped Revolutionary Germantown Festival forced by COVID-19. Through this project participants listened and learned from one another. Cliveden looks forward to using the information gathered and the relationships forged and deepened during this project to expand the site's interpretation of the American Revolution.