Wednesday, June 2, 2010
What kind of history lesson...
...are we teaching with crap like this on display? "The Homefront General Store" on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg advertises reenactor gear from several eras, WWII included. Quite some time ago, I had problems with the way they were doing business. I heard the owner telling someone a uniform combination went together, even though factually it did not, just to try to make a sale. The person chose not to buy, so I said nothing. I've gone in there a few times since, but have never really bought anything, mainly because their stuff really isn't all that good.
This past weekend, a WWII living history encampment, sponsored by "The Homefront", was advertised as being held near the American Civil War Museum, the former Gettysburg Wax Museum. I was doing a small living history display of my own in Old Gettysburg Village, and when I was done, I thought I'd go check out what was near the museum.
Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled! I had to laugh, but I wanted to cry! From far away, it looked farby, because modern camo netting with modern scrim was draped over the weapons display. There appeared to be a bazooka with rockets, 2 mortars, and a .30 cal. machine gun, though, so I thought I'd check it out. I'm both glad and sorry I did!
Look at the photos. The mortar tubes were made of spraycan-painted pvc, as was the bazooka. The rockets were nerf-tipped pvc , and the mg was plastic with a pvc barrel and shroud. They seemed to take pride in showing them off, and telling people how wonderful they were, and how easy they were to make! The kid doing the weapons display appeared to be no more than about 15, and was equipped with the standard-issue airsoft 45 caliber pistol. Ugh!
I had to look, just like the gory accident you may pass on the highway. You don't want to, but can't quite help yourself! I had to take some pictures, but didn't want anyone to think I was really interested. I was still in my airborne uniform and actually hoped no one would ask me any questions or would think I was in any way involved! I'll add the rest of my pictures in a following post, and they are all captioned and visible on my facebook profile.
The wax museum has a history of inviting non-authentic Civil War groups to their grounds, like the Civil War Heritage Foundation (which a lot of us know and love due to the anything-goes mentality). I thought this was a step in the right direction, a chance to turn things around a bit and generate some different interest, but I was sadly mistaken. Had it been somewhat good, I'd have volunteered to get involved in the future and help things get going. As it is, though, I'll stay away. Like all things Gettysburg (including ghost tours, bike week, and even the reenactment)one step forward turns into two or three steps backward. Businesses run toward the money, while those in-the-know would be better served by just running away!