History Space

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The Rhode Island Historical Society and the Newport Historical Society have teamed up to offer professional development programs geared towards public history practitioners. These educators include but are not limited to: reenactors, living history enthusiasts, museum professionals, tour guides, docents, community historians, historical costumers, and those interested in creating garments based on historical techniques, as well as teachers and writers.

Entitled History Space, the workshops are designed to assist those with a curiosity in early American material culture who wish to learn more about Rhode Island’s unique place in the 18th and early 19th centuries and to cultivate anyone who wishes to participate in the organizations’ living history pursuits, specifically the August Stamp Act Protest reenactment in Newport and the Providence-based What Cheer Day in October.

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The January and February schedule includes two hands-on men’s clothing workshops and a free talk that introduces the world of reenacting and the related tools necessary to build a period-correct impression.

Easy Grace and Comfort: Men’s Frock Coat Workshop
January 17 & 24, 2015 from 9:30am-4pm

Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 121 Hope Street, Providence, RI
$115 per person, registration is requested by December 19, 2014
Kit costs: Unlined Linen $110; Wool lined with Serge: $260; Cost for cutting coat from your cloth: $50; Pattern only $20
To register, click here.

The frock coat broke into the men’s fashionable dress in the middle of the 18th century as a lighter, more loosely fitted alternative to the closely fitted, heavily padded and stiffened dress coats of the era.

Henry Cooke, principal of Historical Costume Services, will lead participants through the construction of a frock coat, either from a kit supplied by him, or from participant supplied cloth. The different types of coats will be covered, along with the types of stitches needed to construct this essential outer garment. Construction of cuffs, collars, lapels, and pocket, pleating, lining, and finishing will be covered in the class. Henry will also bring different types of buttons for possible use, along with original garments and buttons to inform and inspire. Frock coat kits will be available in a variety of Kochan and Phillips woolens, along with linen osnaburg, and indigo blue and brown linens. The workshop is limited to twelve students.

Fitting into the Past
January 29, 2015 at 5:30pm

Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, RI
Admission is free, please register here.

Do you love living history? Would you like to participate in a living history event but aren’t sure where to start? This three-part presentation shows how one can fit into the past for future events.
1) Discover how to get started, including an overview of various events, and the different supplies they require.
2) Explore the fit of replica 1770s and 1790s garments and to discover how they differ from modern clothing.
3) And leave with a few basic sewing skills in preparation for making a simple accessory.

To Turn a Good Leg: Men’s Breeches Workshop
February 21 and 22, 2015 from 9:30am-4pm

Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 121 Hope Street, Providence, RI
$115 per person, Registration is required by January 21, 2015.
Kit Costs: Linen $80, Wool $110, Cost for instructor to cut breeches kit from your cloth: $40; Pattern only: $15.
To register, click here.

During the 18th Century, breeches were the principal form of fashionable men’s trousers. Henry Cooke, principal of Historical Costume Services, will lead participants through the construction of a pair of breeches, either from a kit supplied by him, or from cloth supplied by participant. The different types of stitches, details of construction and fitting will be covered, as well as finishing techniques. While you may not finish a pair of breeches in this weekend class, if you have good to moderate sewing skills, you will come close. Breeches kits are available in a variety of Kochan and Phillips woolens, along with linen osnaburg, and brown or indigo blue dyed linen. Space is limited to twelve students.