JOIN THE NORFOLK TOWNE ASSEMBLY
Love the period from before the American Revolution through the Early Republic (1770 - 1829)?
Like reading about life in America during the Revolutionary War? How about in the early days of the new American republic?
Want to help preserve and pass on the knowledge of this period to other folks?
Visited historic sites and wondered what it would be like to have lived back then? To have cooked over an open fire. Defended your honor or that of your lady in a duel.
Read novels set in the past such as Drums Along the Mohawk, Undaunted Courage, Pride and Prejudice or other historical romances, and wished you could dance at a Grand Ball, hunt with a flintlock, or fish 18th Century style?
Been part of a reenactment unit in the past but tired of the singular focus on “military” life?
If you said “Yes” to one or more of these questions, don’t just read about history, experience it with the Norfolk Towne Assembly.
We are a recently formed group and, up to this point, have focused most of our programs on Social Dance. As we grow, however, we are branching out to other areas of civilian life such as leisure entertainments (theatre, gaming, music), historical costuming, period sports, period occupations, etc.
No matter your skills or interests, we can find a way to work them in to what we do.
So, whatever your interests in the history of this period, reach out to us through our Contact Us page and let’s talk about how you can become a part of the Norfolk Towne Assembly!
Since so much of your focus in the past has been on Social Dance, do I need to dance?
Being able to dance is certainly not a requirement to be a part of the Norfolk Towne Assembly. However, we encourage everyone to take the time to develop at least a minimum level of skill in period dance and we can help you with this. Back in the 18th and 19th Centuries, dancing was one of the most popular entertainments and was available to everyone, regardless of their social status. As a result, everyone in the upper and middle classes, and quite a few of those in the working class had some skill at dancing. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, soldiers often danced with each other to pass the time and relieve boredom in camp.
English Country Dancing, the predominate dance style of the era that we represent, is easy to learn – if you can walk at a decent speed, know your right from your left, and can count to eight, you can achieve a reasonable competence very quickly.
Do I Need to Dress Up in Costume?
Not necessarily for everything. Eventually, if you stay with us, you will want to obtain one or more period correct costumes. Certain of our events where we are involved in historical demonstrations, or taking part in a historical reenactment, require correct costuming.
Some of our members have a limited stock of extra clothing (mostly for women) that we can sometimes use to outfit individuals for an event, depending on your size. For the men, we have some friends in other organizations that can sometimes help us out with costuming you for an event.
The members of the Norfolk Towne Assembly can help you understand the ins and outs of period costume (fabric, style, fit, accessories, etc) and help guide you in prioritizing your costume procurement efforts.
For those who sew, or have a friend who does that you can convince to help you out, we have members who have patterns for making period correct clothing and can guide you on fabric selection, fit, notions, etc.
For those who do not sew, there are several vendors who sell “off the rack” period clothing as well as seamstresses/tailors who can produce made to measure clothing. Here we remind you that vendors are out to sell product and the advice they give is not always correct for the place, time, social status, etc. The more experienced members of the Norfolk Towne Assembly can give you advice as to which vendors’ products are proper and help guide your purchases so you do not waste money on items that are not usable.
What if I Don’t Want to Dance, or Present to the Public? Can I Still Help?
To help supply loaner costumes to new members, we are setting up a “loaner closet” for donated Colonial and Early Republic clothing, for all classes of society. There are a couple of ways you can help with that.
If you have any used Colonial or Early Republic civilian costuming in good condition, you can donate it to us, and we will put it back into service.
You can donate cash to us for the purchase new costume components, or to pay for having them made.
Another way you can help us is by doing research for us when needed. While there is quite a bit of information available on the internet, much of what we do involves doing research in library collections at locations such as the ODU Library in Norfolk, the Regent University Library in Virginia Beach, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library in Williamsburg and the William & Mary Special Collections Center.
Do you have ideas of your own as to how you can help? Tell us about it!
Follow this link to our Contact Us page and let’s talk about how you can become a part of the Norfolk Towne Assembly.