Between the Medieval and The Modern

March 19, 2013

This is why we can’t have nice things

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frau Magda @ 8:10 am
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scrooge-mcduck-christmas-carol2I know a lot of people who work as rennaissance faire entertainers and historic interpreters. Almost every time I mention paying admission to an event or museum, someone always pipes up and says, “You should have said something, I could have gotten you in for free!” Even though I am perfectly capable of paying admission. It happened again this weekend when I was in Jamestown for Military Through the Ages. Wanting to show that I financially supported the museum, I mentioned to someone that I’d bought an annual pass, and they immediately started giving me tips for how I could have gotten it half price. *facepalm*

Now, I can sometimes understand why people make this offer. Some of my friends who work the renaissance faires actually are poor college students. But I’m 47 years old. It’s been a long time since I was a college student. And some of my friends who are performers or self-employed live pretty hand-to-mouth, especially when the economy is bad. But I make good money at my job. I don’t need free admission to events. I can afford to pay my own way in and am happy to do so because it supports institutions that I think are important. Institutions that need to make money to stay open. So why do my friends keep trying to save me money that I’m happy to spend? Don’t they understand that if these events don’t make money, that they will eventually stop happening?

WTF people. Seriously.

Maybe I’m feeling overly sensitive because we just got the news last week that the the Higgins Armory Museum is going to close. And I’m feeling guilty for not renewing my membership and supporting the museum the past couple of years. Or maybe it’s because while I was in Williamsburg I picked up a book about the founding and I’ve been reading about how John D. Rockefeller Jr. spent millions of his own money during the Great Depression to create Colonial Williamsburg. Solely because he loved history and thought it was a good idea to try to preserve it. He’s the same guy that built The Cloisters Museum in New York City (I think we would have gotten along famously!).

So I’m going to come right out and say it. Reenactors? You guys are penny wise and pound foolish. You pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on your kits, but you begrudge historic sites and museums that let you come play on their grounds the price of admission.

Admission to a weekend reenactment event is usually very inexpensive. Do you know what it costs to attend a science fiction convention? I’ve seen weekend membership rates that range anywhere from $60 (Arisia) to $200 (WorldCon). And that does not include the price of your hotel room. An annual pass to Jamestown cost me $35. I’ve spent that on a good meal. Heck, I’ve spent that much on a bad meal. An annual pass to Colonial Williamsburg cost me a mere $64. I could spent that in a single trip to the bookstore. I consider the $5 to $15 to get in the gate at most reenactments to be a complete bargain.

Seriously folks. Compare the price of admission to what you spent on your kit. How much was the wool for your clothes? How much did you pay for that gown or uniform? How much were those hand made shoes? What did you spend on that sword or rifle? How much for a full suit of armor? Those cooking pots? That tent? How much was your cannon? If you’re doing modern era, what did you pay for that machine gun? The jeep? So why do you begrudge spending the price of a movie ticket to support a historic site?

And yet, I’m sure there will be people who will keep trying to get me into events for free. Get a clue people, if you’re at a fundraiser to keep a historic site open, the last thing you should be doing is letting extra people in the back gate for free. You should be encouraging your friends to support the site. Because we want them to stay open.

Relevant to your interests – Save the Higgins

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