Patriots Day
Reenactor 101
Choose a reenactor:Get InvolvedLook the PartKnow Your WeaponsMake MusicLearn Outside the BookPlay the GamesBring Your FamilyBalance Your Schedule

Name: Paul O'Shaughnessy
From: Lexington, MA
Age: 47

'It's not a hobby -- it's a lifestyle.'
Balance Your Schedule

Reenacting can be a year-round activity. Whether you dabble or dive in headfirst, you will need to figure out how to manage your schedule.

step one | step two | step three | step four

Step One: Be Businesslike
Understand that organized reenacting groups are small businesses. You may want to help out with logistics or support functions.

cothing"You've got a budget of several thousand dollars a year at least -- in a good year it may be more -- and with that you have to purchase insurance, make arrangements for your drill hall, have regular meetings of your command staff in order to plan out the season, purchase material, repair parts, and contract with tailors."
-- Paul O'Shaughnessy

Step Two: Be Careful with Then and Now
Be aware of how real reenacting can seem. Don't be alarmed if you find it a bit difficult returning to the 21st century.

buttons on uniform"When you're out there on the weekend there is a gradual transition away from the 21st century and into the thinking and norms of the 18th century. If there is a difficulty sometimes, it's in coming back Monday morning and remembering what you were doing Thursday or Friday."
-- Paul O'Shaughnessy

Step Three: Allot Time Carefully
Balance your time commitments and plan ahead. That way you'll make sure you're as involved as you want to be.

British marching"This last weekend sort of went 'poof' for me. On Sunday, I had a walkthrough for a battle that we were planning in Sutton, Massachusetts next May. That started at about eleven o'clock in the morning and went until about three thirty in the afternoon. On Saturday I had some people over at the workshop -- which happens to be in the basement of my house -- to get some muskets fixed and to cast a few buttons and things of that nature."
-- Paul O'Shaughnessy

Step Four: Collaborate
Make a connection between working together with other reenactors and the democratic ideals of the colonial minute men.

"The ideal of the 18th century -- and particularly of America -- was that everybody was an individual but you could also do great things through cooperative effort. That was what the minute men... were all about. That's why the British found it to be such a challenge to deal with. Today we find so many people where it's 'me, me, I, and me.' In order to join a group of this nature, you have to give up some of that identity."
-- Paul O'Shaughnessy

back to top