About MVEP

What is Mississippi Valley Educational Programs all about?

In 1996 Kent Goff, Tom Yancey, and Derek Clements created MVEP as an organization to present professional living history programs.  We decided that given the considerable research, expense, and time involved in putting together an impression, that such a professional effort deserved professional treatment.  Also, given that while other re-enactors call themselves "living historians," we believe that a true Living Historian needs to perform to a higher standard than even a dedicated hobbyist.   Therefore, we decided to "go a step beyond" and develop our skills to specifically meet the need of educational professionals in several fields.

Why is Living History Popular?

Another factor in our planning was that history education is often perceived by students and the public as dull.  The fact is that actual history is often more unbelievable than a novel.  We knew that the public responded enthusiastically to good living history presentations, and that this "ultimate multi-media" could compete with all the entertainment options available to modern Americans on an equal basis.  Living history provides the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and many of the experiences of the past.  Handling reproduction artifacts lets people feel they are touching the past, instead of just looking at it through a glass case.  A good living historian is "interactive" unlike any computerized display or computer game.

Can this be Effective in an Educational Setting?

Research into the literature on living history showed that some professional educators are beginning to realize the potential to use the re-enactment hobby as a method of teaching.  Some studies showed incredible rates of information retention from programs, two to three times the retention of ordinary lectures.  Given our academic and educational backgrounds, we believed that we could design living history programs specifically to teach history, and custom design the program to teach whatever learning objectives were chosen.

Why use a contractor like MVEP?

Putting together a living history impression is costly and time consuming, and not likely to be used every day (except at places like Colonial Williamsburg or the Arkansas Territorial Restoration), so that the opportunity for a contractor to assist a school, museum, or park in its educational programs by making skilled, knowledgeable, and equipped living historians available was considerable.  The institution saves money on the capital outlay for equipment, staffing, training, and other expenses.  For example, a Civil War soldier impression for a single individual can involve over $1200.00 in clothing and equipment cost.  MVEP can bring two or three "soldiers," trained in living history presentation skills, and extremely knowledgeable on the Civil War to your institution for $600.00 per day.

MVEP also makes efficient use of its resources, particularly personnel, by having a core group of skilled living historians who can use those skills to perform as different characters.  The capital cost of clothing and other artifacts is spread across many customers.