Patrick Kinghan - Impressions of History: Reenactment and Teaching the Past

In May 2018, Patrick Kinghan, an undergraduate history student from Huron University College in London, Ontario, was welcomed into the ranks of the Royal Scots. A researcher for Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning, Patrick wanted to discover what draws people to re-enactment and how it might help public audiences better understand history. While some academics misunderstand reenacting’s value, Patrick’s investigation taught him the power of its experiential and immersive learning. By telling his favorite stories, personal epiphanies, and interview anecdotes, Patrick breaks down his research experience and shares his conclusions. These conclusions are insights from his research, but the complexities of the hobby make any conclusions variable. In the end, he only wishes two things from this research experience: that reenacting is given a fair analysis, and people experience it to form a full understanding.

Patrick Kinghan is a third-year undergraduate student at Huron University College at Western University. The one thing which outweighs his love for studying history is his energy and excitement for sharing it. Over the past summer, Patrick worked at the Uxbridge Historical Centre and created a summer program to connect Uxbridge’s children to their local history. At his university, Patrick is a member of the Phantoms of the Past research project, which ties together transatlantic slave narratives in the context of anti-slavery movements, and a Huron CURL researcher, through which this reenacting project was possible. He is the current President of the Huron History Society and has been the research assistant to Dr. Nina Reid-Maroney, helping to digitize a local London, Ontario newspaper titled The Dawn of Tomorrow.