Henry Steele Commager, American historian, once stated, "History, we can confidently assert, is useful in the sense
that art and music, poetry and flowers, religion and philosophy are useful. Without it, as with these, life would be poorer and meaner;
without it we should be denied some of those intellectual and moral experiences which give meaning and richness to life. Surely it is no
accident that the study of history has been the solace of many of the noblest minds of every generation."
The study of history is vital to understanding our current world; its origins, its reasonings, and its possibilities for the future.
Indeed, the analysis and interpretation of the past provides an essential context for evaluating contemporary institutions, politics,
and cultures, and also reveals unique insight into human nature and civilizations. By demanding that we view the world through the eyes of
our predecessors, we develop a sense of context and coherence while recognizing complexity and ambiguity, and we confront the record not
only of human achievement but also of human failure, cruelty, and barbarity. The study of history thus provides us with a
substantive framework for understanding the human condition and grappling with moral questions and problems.
In addition, at Eras of Elegance, it is our hope that the study of history will lead to a greater appreciation of the simplicity and
ideals of the past, and nurture an enthusiasm and even a lifestyle of "living history." Living history has been described as a movement, a technique, a philosophy and an
educational tool. It became popular nearly a century ago in Europe as historians and antiquarians looked for ways to bring the past to life.
Its more recent incarnation grew out of efforts by a generation of visionaries such as Henry Ford who promoted hands-on learning, and the founders of
the 1933 Witter Agricultural Museum at the New York State Fair, who set weavers and spinners to work demonstrating historic processes in a gallery museum.
Animation and an experience of history using the five senses as well as intellect and emotions defined the interpretive technique from the beginning.
Today, living history runs the gamut from individuals wearing thoroughly researched reproductions of period clothing, speaking as a specific or
composite character from the past with the proper accent, preparing and eating historic foods, appearing in carefully reconstructed or
restored and furnished period structures, and re-enacting important events. Living history need not be confined to Civil War battlefields of the South,
or museums and historical houses, however. Even taking a few simple cues from the past and incorporating those historical details that fit one's
interests and personality can enrich one's everyday life.
We invite you to learn about the major eras of history featured on our website. Discover the political figures, world events,
key personalities, artistic movements, technological inventions and scientific discoveries that have shaped our world through the ages.
Allow the past to come alive.