The Lang Pioneer Village Museum is a small hamlet of over 25 restored 19th-century buildings. Villagers of all ages go about their business in period dress, transporting visitors back in time to an age of blacksmith shops, woodsmoke, and rail-and-stump fences.
Often, visitors meet another person in period dress who is not museum employee: historian and author Connie Brummel Crook has had a long history with Lang Pioneer Village. Today she shares with us some of the ways she and the museum have worked together to promote her books, the museum’s events, and the passion they both share for educating new generations about their nation’s history.
One of my favourite places to visit is Lang Pioneer Village Museum where my books are sold in their gift shop. I have been visiting there for many years during the latter part of May and most of June. During that time, busloads of schoolchildren visit the village. In the town hall, I talk with them about their school trip, my books, and about the business completed in town halls like this one many years ago. The children, who are very lively and ready for the holiday, respond in different ways. Some linger to ask more about my books while others rush on to the next event. Sometimes, students recognize my books because they have studied them in their classrooms, and so have many questions. Their interest, enthusiasm, and energy are inspiring.
Then there are special events to which I have been invited. This year, I was invited for three summer book signings for my newest novel, Acts of Courage: a Book Launch on July 1, and Celebrations and Reenactments of the War of 1812 on August 18 and 19. All three were very interesting days. The books were for sale in Lang Museum’s gift shop and I was seated in a different area each time, where I met a stream of folks who asked me to autograph their books. I went to school at Lang many years ago and had written a book about the time of the Depression there, and there were a few old friends who could remember. Also, there were folks from other areas of Canada and a few even from other countries on their holidays. Youths who had completed a reenactment workshop training course in early August came to have the book signed that had been given to each one taking that workshop.
Lang Pioneer Museum has many very interesting events throughout the year but is especially busy during the weekends in the summer months. On August 18 and 19, they had many special War of 1812 events; such as, regimental march from military encampments, kids mini militia training drill with the 49th Regiment of Foot Reenactors, War council with Chief Tecumseh at the First Nations Encampment, and Battle reenactments. Also guests were invited to meet impersonators of famous people in costume, such as, Sir Isaac Brock, Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee, Laura Secord, and many more from the War of 1812–14.
I, too, was dressed in the costume of that period for these three events and enjoyed visiting with old and new friends of all ages from many different areas.
–Connie Brummel Crook is the author of Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812 and more than a dozen other works of historical fiction for young readers.