Welcome to the Online Clann Tartan Newsletter for March 2007

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  


Dues are due again.

It is dues renewal time again. Our memberships all run from April 1 thru March 31, so nearly everyone needs to send in their renewals in the next month or so. Including the people who just renewed at the February members meeting, I show the following as paid beyond the upcoming year end: Joe A, Michael and Brenda B, Marty and Judy B, Mary D, John D, Mark H and Diana S, Kenneth H, Cate H, Maeve K, Margaret K, Sean and Lisa M, Glenn and Mia M, Mary M, David P, Mark S, Kyrsten U, Perry V, and Bruce and Julie Y. If your name is not included in the preceding list, I show that your membership is only current through March 31, 2007. Please try to get your renewal payment in before then. I can accept payments at pub night, Co Drill, Captain's tea, Camp drill, dance practice, or Tartan Day. Also, payments can be mailed payable to Clann Tartan and sent to Bruce Yoder, 4736 12th Av S, Minneapolis MN 55407. Individual or Family dues are $18 per year, students are $10.

Some tax time things to consider. Because Clann is a nonprofit charitable organization, donations made to Clann might be deductable expenses on your income tax return, Donations can be monetary, in kind, or expenses. Examples of expenses are mileage to and from events, parking expenses, and costuming expenses. You cannot claim a deduction for donated volunteer time. If you have questions whether this could apply for you, consult your tax professional.

Bruce (Your CT Treasurer)


Stand to your . . . kettles?????

The expanding role of camp drill.

As you may have noticed, we have been gradually expanding the focus of camp drills. They started as sewing bees, and have been helpful and successful in that regard. However, we have found other things to play with as well. We have had two very successful cooking drills taught by Renee, emphasizing less-known recipies from our cookbook. We will have other special drills coming up.

March will be Yeasty Goodness, at Mia's. More on this as it comes together.

April will be a Very Special Camp Drill:

We will be assembling with our canvas, lumber, and quantities of period, milk-based paints to color-code our camp. We will paint the lumber for each tent a different color, along with the tensioners for the ropes where appropriate, and we will also put a dab of paint on each tent. This will help us set up camp quickly and efficiently, even if some of us can't glance at a pole and say, "Oh, yeah, that's Trooper Three--I recognize the chip in the end."

Our goal for April camp drill is to end up with a camp that is durable, colorful, and easy to set up and take down. We will be looking at everything for soundness and durability. It is our last chance to make repairs.

THIS DRILL WILL BE APRIL 14! Unlike other Camp Drills, it will be held on the /second /Saturday instead of the fourth, just so we can get it done before our first event of the season at Charles City. PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THIS EVENT! Many hands make light work, and we hope to improve the quality of our camping all year long by doing this work in advance.

Your staff thanks you.


Staff Announcements

THIS IS A CHANGE. The time for Tartan Day is 3:00, not 4:00. If you come at 4:00, you get to watch chilly kilted people walking back to their cars. The lineup starts at 2:30 near the monuments at the opposite end of the mall from the capitol. We march to the steps at 3:00, and the program concludes with a musket salute by the reenactors. I don't have a definite answer yet from the 42nd, so that probably means us. Also remember that the day is not April 6. Because the 6th is too close to Easter, the date was set at Saturday March 31st.

We have an idea for producing the canvass bags we've talked about over the years for holding bundling tent stakes with their tent. The legs off old jeans will work. Most of us have such old jeans laying around and their already partly sewn. The staff is asking for members to give us a leg up. Or over. Whatever.

APRIL DRILL WILL BE APRIL 14! Unlike other Camp Drills, it will be held on the /second /Saturday instead of the fourth, just so we can get it done before our first event of the season at Charles City. PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THIS EVENT! Many hands make light work, and we hope to improve the quality of our camping all year long by doing this work in advance.


Clann Tartan is pleased to announce Colonel Gaffneis Official Sutlery!

Currently we offer tee shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, mugs, mouse pads, bumper stickers, bibs, infant creepers, steins and totes with a variety of designs.

The online store can be found at www.cafepress.com/clanntartan.



Submissions for the Newsletter!
Items you can submit include research articles, character sketches, and other items pertaining to living history and Scottish Culture. Email your items in either plain text, or MS Word format to newsletter@clanntartan.org or snail mail to our postal address.
Items must be received by the 15th of each month to be considered for inclusion for the upcoming months issue. Mailed submissions will not be returned unless requested. All pertinent submissions will be considered as space permits. All research articles must reference at least three sources. Submissions are NOT edited for spelling or grammar, but may be broken in multiple parts.

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  

Board Minutes

Clann Tartan Board Meeting.  January 16, 2007

Board Members Present: Mary McKinley, Bruce Yoder, Cate Hesser, 
Glenn McDavid, Diana Steben, Herb Lindorff, Sean

Staff Present: Maeve Kane, Mia McDavid, Julie Yoder

Other Members Present: Lisa Gillstrom, Jaimie Zaugg

Minutes of the December meeting were accepted as corrected.

TRAILER: The Quartermaster has done the minimal repairs necessary to get
it moving.  Some parts have not yet been installed and the fender needed
to be replaced.  The wheels and tires have been replace by new
"automotive" (better) grade items.  One tire was saved as a spare.
The bearings are OK.  The hubs are good.  The trailer is now saleable or

Some numbers:   The axle is rated for 2500 lbs.  The trailer's empty
weight is 710 lbs.  Should be able to load about 1500 lbs, while we have
actually been going up to around 2900 lbs.  Staff's current plan for
a "minimal" show calls for about 2100 lbs of cargo.  We have a serious
problem which was discussed at considerable length:

As we have accumulated equipment--mortars, big new sturdy troopers,
furniture--over the years, we have been gradually increasing the load on
the trailer. We didn't realize it, so we towed the thing all over the
state, fat and happy, until Big Island Rendezvous.

As everyone probably remembers, the wheel fell off of the trailer on the
way back from Big Island. The trailer was at its very heaviest; loaded
with everything we own for our largest show of the season. We believe
the nuts had been overtightened, causing the threads to fail; as we
towed 3,000 lbs worth of stuff home, those threads started to give, and
a cascade of damage eventually forced the nuts off and let the wheel
fall. We are very fortunate that no one was seriously injured; even
property damage was minimal.

Now we know that we can't go on this way. The trailer axle, it turns
out, is rated for 2,500. Staff has analyzed our equipment use; the most
minimal six-person show needs 2,100-odd lbs of stuff, not counting food;
increases in attendance require increases in furniture, cooking pots,
and food, driving the weight still higher.

The problem is, we don't see any good options. We have come to rely on
the trailer, and on Marty, who is so good about pulling it to shows. The
following points are clear. 

1.        We cannot afford to own a truck, or any other vehicle. Even if
we got one for free, we could not not afford the upkeep. The insurance
is much higher for a corporation than for an individual and would
bankrupt us in two years.

2.        Renting trucks (like we did for Mankato and Winona last year)
is likely to be prohibitively expensive if we try to do it all the time.

3.        Just getting a new trailer doesn't really get us anything; it
just leaves us standing on thin air again. A much larger trailer will
not fit into our storage garage (At $25 per month, an unbeatable deal!)
and will cost a great deal of money. Furthermore, we may not have any
vehicles that could haul a much larger trailer.

4.        Getting a second trailer means we need not just Marty, but a
second person who can pull a trailer and go to most shows. Two loads and
unloads. Many members at this point have small cars that not rated to
pull or may be too overloaded with their own gear. Rental companies will
not let people tow with the rental vehicles.

5.        Putting stuff in people's personal vehicles has worked in the
past, but it may no longer be feasible. Few of us have any excess
capacity in our vehicles when we are show-loaded. Few of us have vans or
large vehicles. There is also the issue of stuff getting comfortable in
a personal vehicle and deciding it lives there.

6.        One member suggested finding an angel who can lend us a truck
for these occasions. That would be ideal--it would have to be a truck
that is at least 16-ft from back door to front windshield (the tavern
ridgepole) and it would have to be realiably available for at least most
shows--no last-minute changes in plans to leave us stranded. It would
have to be available for the better part of a week for every show so
that we can load before and unload after, not to mention pretty much
three weeks (or four, if they resuscitate Big Muddy) in October. Any
large vehicle including a bus (without seats) is fair game for this. 

The board was hoping to have a nice plan in place to offer the members
by the quarterly meeting. So far, it does not. The board appeals to any
member who might have ideas and resources. Pursue your ideas; check into
your resources; we need not just suggestions but actual confirmed plans
by the quarterly meeting. To avoid the percussive punishment of deceased
equines, please review the points listed above.

As Bruce writes,

It is still the two thousand pound gorilla sitting in the corner, and we
need to catch and tame it by the end of April so we can go to Charles
City IA 

The points are to be written up and presented to the membership.  [Done
on Jan. 18].  More reports on the trailer are to be presented at the
February meeting.

BUDGET:  Bruce reviewed the current proposed budget for 2007-2008.  As
prepared it assumes the status quo on the trailer.

Poweder.  Still have some money for it in the current (06/07) budget.
We can buy it locally.  We still should keep it in the 07/08 budget.

Food:  We still have substantial amounts of meat in the freezer.  This
may lower our food expenses.

Summary:  The budget has a projected deficit of $1950.  We will have
$5243 to keep going and to solve our transportation problems.

Some issues:  If Winona is revived, can we do it without being payed?
It is very taxing on the members.

The Wisconsin Scottish Fair (Milwaukee suburbs) may pay well if we can
do it.

White Oak:  2007 may be the last year.

Other Rendezvous--they may be unwilling to talk to us since their focus
is on early America and ours is on Scotland.

The Board agreed that this budget should be presented to the membership.

The Treasurer also reviewed the financial statements for the current
year.  The main variance is the absence of $1000 revenue from Winona.
Some expenses are also lower, which helps.


QUARTERMASTER: See trailer discussion above.

COMPANY REP: Sean will run for that position again. 

MUSIC GUILD:  Nothing new

DANCE GUILD:  Still need a better site for Wednesday.

FIBER:  Mia is dyeing.  She will have a loom ready for demos at Ramble.

HISTORIC SITE:  Still snowed in.

SWORD GUILD:  No report.

PAPER DOLLS:  None have been sold so far.  Heidi Viar is interested in
serving as Sutler, and as such would inherit them as part of her

COOKBOOK:  Sold out.  It really needs some revision, but we might
reprint the current edition for some immediate revenue.

COMMUNICATIONS--NEWSLETTER:  Board and Staff meeting schedules should be

COMMUNICATIONS--WEB SITE:  John Debnam continues to work on it.


Ramble--Plans look good.

Charles City


Trade Fairs.  Probably too late to do anything for this years.

MN Scottish Fair.  Their deficit was not as bad as feared.  Perhaps we
can ask them for some compensation this year.  Mary will look at this.

Wisconsin Scottish Fair


Maeve proposed a Captain's Competition for newsletter articles.  The
prize would be a dinner at Cate's for all entrants with the winners 
to be announced and recognized at the dinner.  There would be three

1.  Best research article.
2.  Best how-to article.
3.  Best new author (never before published in the Newsletter).

This met with general approval and Maeve will write it up for the

Mary proposed that we hold a living history banquet/ball this fall at
MCTC.  The administration there seems receptive to this idea.  St.
Andrew's day (Nov. 30--a Friday) or close to it would be an appropriate
date.  Financially this project would be administered by MCTC and would
have no impact on our books.

Next meeting will be the annual membership meeting.  Saturday, Feb. 3,
noon, at Corcoran.

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  

Board & Staff

If you need to contact someone associated with Clann Tartan, here is where you find out how. If you are unsure who to contact, you can always email us at: info@clanntartan.org

Board Members

President Mary McKinley 651-699-6853 mairi2@juno.com
Vice President Marty Byers 651-483-1173 / 651-261-5815. orthodoxdruid@gmail.com
Secretary Glenn McDavid 651-490-1842 gmcdavid@comcast.net
Treasurer Bruce Yoder 612-825-4519 bruceyoder@juno.com
Quarter Master Sean McCanna 952-926-1279 macbaird@lycos.com
Camp Rep. Diana Steben 612-728-1189 Rillaspins@aol.com
Company Rep.      


Chief of Staff Mia McDavid 651-490-1842 mia_mcdavid@comcast.net 
Head Campfollower Betsy Bolton / Renee Petersen 763-561-4368 Betsy /
952-895-5487 Renee
basil80@hotmail.com / mydogharpo@juno.com
Captain Maeve Kane 651-696-7498 or 952-461-4666 mollmccaine@aol.com 
Henchman Eric Ferguson 612.726.6364 eric@celticfringe.net
Henchman David Vavreck 612-378-1973 baethan1630@yahoo.com
Henchman Tony Rogers   anthony.j.rogers@gmail.com
Henchman Glenn McDavid 651-490-1842 gmcdavid@comcast.net
Henchwoman Julie Yoder 612-825-4519 Julieyoder@juno.com
Henchwoman Heidi Vair 715-379-9055 Mapleaf11@yahoo.com
Henchwoman Laurie Ford 952-924-9128 laurie.ford@gmail.com

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  


Sword Guild:

Meeting and time TBA

Marty L. Byers


1st & 3rd Wednesdays
Dance will meet at Minneapolis Community and Technical College - 1501 Hennepin Ave in Minneapolis. We will meet in room T (for technical building, the big main building,) 5500. this is also the PSOM and ENDT lab. It's on the 5th floor - follow the signs to the room. There is free on street parking after 6 PM, but it's interesting to find spots due to evening classes. There is a parking ramp that (I believe) is $5 to park in. We back onto Loring Park, so there may be parking over there too - I don't recommend walking thru the park alone in the dark, however. http://www.minneapolis.edu/directions.cfm will get you to the campus, http://www.minneapolis.edu/campusmaps/index.html will get you to the right building. I'll be in my office - 612-659-6000 x 4090 until at least 5 PM.

Questions? call Mary at 651-699-6853 or Julie at 651-698-8375

2nd & 4th Tuesdays
Saint Christopher's Episcopal Church, 2300 N Hamline Ave. in St. Paul.

It is at the northeast corner of Highway 36 and Hamline Avenue (Hamline is between Snelling and Lexington). The church is actually encircled by the highway entrance ramp.
The Dance Guild gathers weekly from 7PM-9PM to learn and practice historic Scottish country dances.
For more information call:

Mary at 651-699-6853 or Julie at 651-698-8375

It's a great place to meet people!

Other Guilds

Want to learn about wool spinning, weaving, or dying? Diana Steben (651-489-2881) and Kali Pederson (651-385-9006 ) organize the Fiber Guild.

Clann Tartan has our own historic site near Duluth MN. Dun Gowan is an ongoing project, which is the site of Gaffneyis Annual Tactical in July. We are finishing the fort and beginning the construction of a village this year. Contact David Vavreck at 612-378-1973 or baethan1630@yahoo.com for further information, or to volunteer to help.


Company Drill for the next two months will be Saturday, December 16, and Saturday, January 20. Both will be at Mattocks Park, 451 Macalester Street in Saint Paul at 11 am. Food and hot drinks provided, bring your own mug.

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
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Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  

Captains Corner

I want to thank everyone who has been attending drill these past few months. I know marching around in circles and singing may not seem like it helps much, but our performance was much more professional this weekend.

As the weather continues to warm in the coming months, we will be starting to drill more with the muskets and artillery. Doing musket drill is a requirement for third level muster; I encourage anyone interested to attend and get that muster requirement out of the way. If you have any concerns about firing a gun for safety or personal reasons, please speak to me. No previous experience with firearms of any kind is necessary to pass muster on this item; one of Clann's matchlock muskets was the first gun I ever fired and Clann's matchlocks are to date the only firearms I've ever fired.

For those who have never fired a powder weapon before and those with years of experience, I am going to lay out my rules for safety here. I will not allow any exception or argument on any of these points—safety will always come first in my camp.

In using any weapon, it should always be considered loaded—even a pike, dull sword, or musket, whether it has ball and shot, just shot, or no charge at all. Weapons of any kind, especially muskets, should never, under any circumstances, be pointed at a person. This includes drill and interpretive settings.

Any musket fired in my camp will be elevated above head level. This means that the end of the barrel should be above the top of the head of anyone near by. This is not period correct, but the blast from a musket with no ball can still cause serious injury and there can sometimes be debris inside even the best cleaned musket. Because we cannot always keep patrons or other members out of the line of fire, we have to take what steps we can to keep anyone from getting hurt.

For those not participating in drill, the best way to help us protect our patrons and ourselves is to keep a sharp eye out. For pike drill, musket drill, and artillery drill, patrons should never be allowed to walk in front of the soldiers. Patrons should either be intercepted and politely directed away from the line of fire, or, if they've already wandered too far, it's appropriate to yell “Belay!” The same goes for soldiers—if a patron or silly officer is wandering where they shouldn't be right before musket fire or a pike charge, yell “Belay.”

For artillery drill, everyone, including those running and participating in the drill, need to stay behind the barrel of the artillery piece. (For artillery, read: the mortars.) Ears should be covered with a cupped hand, the open part of your cupped hand facing away from the mortar. Ears should never be plugged, and patrons need to be told this. Standing forward of the barrel of the mortar can cause much greater damage to your hearing as well as placing you at a much greater risk of being hit by sparks or hot tin foil used to pack the mortar, and plugging ear drums can create damaging pressure differentials inside your ear.

Our next few up coming events are Tartan Day, on April 6, on which we will be firing muskets and acting as honor guard, and Charles City Military History Days, at which we will be going full-out with our military presentation. Staff and more experienced members will be around to help with safety concerns and managing public, but the above is a good set of general guidelines to keep in mind.

For March drill, we will be working on loading the matchlocks in both a drill setting and in an interpretive setting.

Your Captain,

Maeve Kane

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Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  


Captain's Authoris Award

To encourage the publication of new articles in the newsletter, I would like to announce a contest with three categories.

Best Research Article

The award for Best Research Article will be awarded to a research article on any topic in Clann's period related to Scotland or the Thirty Years' War. Topics can include social, military, religious, or any other subject. See the members' manual or past newsletters for ideas—research articles can be on very narrow topics like the history of the fork or very broad topics like religion in the Highlands. Articles in this category should use a minimum of three primary sources and can have an unlimited number of secondary sources. (A primary source is one produced in our period, like a song, picture, or document, and a secondary source is one produced by a modern writer analyzing our period.)

Best How-to Article

The award for Best How-to Article will be awarded to a non-research article that clarifies how to do or make something, or how some part of our organization works. Topics can include anything from how to cook a period dish, documentation of a personal project, how to belt and wear a plaid, or anything else. Articles in this category may use primary and secondary sources, but the primary purpose of these articles should be original writing of the how-to sort.

Best New Writer

As I mentioned above, we've had a number of good articles in the past few years. To encourage newer members or older members who've never written for the newsletter before to put out new work, this category will give an award to a writer who has never before been published in the newsletter. The winning article can be about anything, and be research or how-to, so long as the author has never before published an article in the Clann newsletter.

To be eligible to win, the article must be submitted to the Clann newsletter editors by October 15, 2007, so that they may appear in the November newsletter. Articles may be submitted at any time between now and then. At the heading of each competing article, the author should state whether they are submitting it for the Research Article category or the How-to Article category. All articles by new writers will be automatically considered for that category.

After all articles have been submitted, everyone who submitted an article will be invited to the Captain's Award Banquet, which our VP Cate Hesser has graciously volunteered to be in charge of cooking for. Date, time and location to be determined, but good food, good company and good conversation are guaranteed. All winners will be announced at the banquet.



At the request of our Board of Directors, this column addresses member questions about anything related to what we in Gaffneyis Regiment do. What is event X like? Are thingamajigs period? How do you make a whatzahoozits? Where do you get a fribber-frabber?  Members are asked to send questions to Baethan (David Vavreck) who can be reached at 612-378-1973, baethan1630@yahoo.com, or 1036 24th Avenue SE, Mpls MN 55414


Periodically, eyeglasses come up in conversation within our group. The following article discusses period eyewear, and also provides sources where you can get your own.

Spectacles were invented in Italy by the 1280s - a result both of new translations of 10th/11th century Arabic works on optics and the birth of the modern scientific method in Europe. At first, they were riveted at the nose, and had to be held during use. By 1500, single-piece "bow frames" were developed, shortly to be mass-produced throughout Europe. These "bow frames" are what would be most common in our period, having gradually replaced riveted models by the early 17th century. Bow frames were either held like riveted spectacles, or stayed in place by being more or less wedged onto the nose (not unlike like the "Pince-Nezs" popularized by Teddy Roosevelt in the late 19th century). A clever development soon increased the comfort for the user. Ribbons with a weight at one end were tied onto each side of the frames. The ribbon passed over the top of the ear, and the weights hung down behind the ear, thus holding the frames on better. Or ribbons were looped around each ear with both ends tied to the frames. Temple bows were not added until the second quarter of the 18th century.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (of London) was founded in 1629. A "worshipful" guild has a royal charter; an "honourable" guild does not. Before this, most spectacles worn in the British Isles were made in the Low Countries or the Germanies.

Spectacle frames were made of horn, bone, leather, wood, or rarely wire, and the lenses were almost always round. The period cases for them I have seen are mostly wood, leather, or tortoiseshell (presumably horn was used, as well).

a typical pair of 17th century spectacles with case from the Pilgrim Hall Museum
a typical pair of
17th century spectacles
with case from
the Pilgrim Hall Museum
Although lenses were developed for both farsightedness and nearsightedness well before 1630, bifocals were not invented by Dr. Benjamin Franklin until about 1780.

The lenses were hand ground until the 19th century, usually of glass, sometimes of much more expensive rock crystal. One who needed spectacles would go to the maker or seller and pick the pair that worked the best for them - not quite as scientific a system as nowadays, but it certainly worked.

You may ask how affordable they were in the time we represent. The answer, surprisingly, was quite. For example, a stone mason spent about two hours' wages on a pair around 1500 or so; this would mean that even a poorly paid laborer could afford a pair, using a couple days' pay at most. For what it is worth, there is some evidence that the London spectacle makers guild had a system set up to provide those in need with a free pair if they could not afford to pay for them.

There are a couple of 17th century pictures showing wandering spectacle sellers, one of which has the itinerant salesman offering his wares in a rural setting. And there is that lovely painting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts showing a couple of soldiers gambling during the Thirty Years War; one of them is using spectacles ("The Gamblers" by Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1623).

Although I wouldn't want to ride a horse wearing a pair of spectacles unless they were tied on – and Lord knows I do need glasses - they can be most useful for reading and writing (if your character is literate) or doing crafts such as needlework or carving, regardless of class.



The British Optical Association Museum has an online exhibit which includes photos of surviving spectacles, and period illustrations of spectacle salesmen, - the 17th c page can be found at

"Eyeglasses Through the Ages" has a lot of pictures of spectacles from the beginnings to the present

The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology has a short history of spectacles with a few pictures at

Hendrick ter Brugghen, "The Gamblers" 1623 can be viewed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, or at

The Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth MA is the source of the picture above of the leather wrapped horn spectacles with pine case (the leather helped prevent the spectacles sliding off).

Tunis, Edwin. Colonial Craftsmen and the Beginnings of American Industry. World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York 1965, Has a section called “The Eyeglass Seller” pp 48 – 50, which not only gives a short history of spectacles from the 13th to 19th centuries, but also shows some of the lens-grinding tools used.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers has useful historical information

SOURCES OF REPRODUCTION FRAMES (all are riveted, not bow frames - they'll certainly do for us. It is far better to have a pair a couple decades out of fashion than to ruin an otherwise good kit with a modern or even 18th century pair. There are three models which sell for under $30, which is pretty darned affordable.

James Townsend carries artificial bone (plastic) spectacles, currently on sale for $25

Medievaldesign has wooden and bone spectacles at 20 Euros and 150 Euros, respectively

Sweetness and Light carries wooden and horn spectacles at 10 Pounds and 35 Pounds, respectively


Interpretation as provocation

By Eric Ferguson

That headline refers to provocation in the curiosity sense rather than the controversial. I was provoked to write this over a recent discussion on a tangentially related subject, followed by a realization I haven't said anything on this subject for a long time, and I was recently informed I'm quoted in Stacy Roth's book on historical interpretation so I suppose I ought to speak up once in a while. What I want to do here is put things in perspective in regard to the goals and methods of this living history thing we do.

The core of what I'm saying is visitors won't remember the bulk of what we tell them. Though I may give a patron the benefit of a few minutes of the wonderfulness that is me and my research, I'm under no illusion that they would do well if they took a quiz a few minutes later. If, say, I stuck a musket in their hands and explained the why and wherefores of the usage of it, I would assume they would later be right about question 1, Are muskets heavy? They might even get question 2, Do muskets smell after being fired? How about question 3, How many ranks deep is a line of musketeers? Or 4, What is the match made out of? My confidence level goes down. Then again, I'm not hoping to get them to pass a quiz. I'm trying to provoke them to ask questions or look up something later.

(By the way, the answers are 1. yes, for most of us; 2. yes, assuming you react to sulphur like most people; 3. 6 in the traditional countermarching preferred by Monro, 3 in the line tactics developed by Gustavus; 4. Linen or hemp cord, often cotton in the 21st century, soaked in salt petre, known now as potassium nitrate.)

I haven't had occasion to speak to an adult who had been among the kids in one of our school tour presentations, but I have talked to adults who toured Ft. Snelling with their schools. Consistently, what they recall is, I'm not kidding, the rock candy. Any sense of superiority I may have felt over these fools who just remembered what they ate disappeared when I went to Old Bethpage Village somewhere in Long Island, NY, feeling quite certain I had never been there or even heard of it. Then I walked into the store and saw they were selling birch beer. Literally in an instant, I realized I had been there in second grade. I forgot the whole museum, but remembered what I stuck in my mouth. Fortunately as adults we forget much of what we stuck in our mouths, but the point is kids are very tactile (if a visitor got to hold something at Dungowan, would the event be a tactilecal?). They're visual too, as is evident when some of those groups at Ft. Snelling send drawings to the staff, and a frequent motif is soldiers shooting out of the round tower. We told them there was never a battle, and we never shot muskets out of the round tower, but the round tower is hard to forget, and they remembered seeing the musket go off. The staff got a chuckle, but I also took note that our young visitors could have correctly answered the question, what is the icon (after explaining what an icon is)of Ft. Snelling and one of the icons of Minnesota. The correct answer to that question was central to the fort being restored in the first place.

Adults may be better able to listen and reason, but it's a matter of degree. I sometimes suspect that those of us who do this living history thing for a while get so used to learning by listening that we forget this isn't typical. For a plausible hypothetical, let's imagine three patrons for whom we break that myth we break more than any other, that tartans were specific to clans. One patron is told this as one of us volunteers this amongst multiple facts, one is told this in response to the common question, "Which clan's tartan is that?", and the other sees a man wearing a kilt and trews of clashing tartans. Which will remember the historically correct information? I hope no one thinks the first person, but I wouldn't want to guess between the other two. The second was somehow provoked to ask a question and will likely remember the answer, at least in general even if they don't recall the Sobieski Stuarts or locally available dyes later on. The third person however might remember the clashing colors in the odd clothing, and just might realize the disconnect between one person with two tartans and the notion of wearing a specific clan tartan. Even if they don't ask the reason why, I would guess they'll remember the clashing colors as well as the other patron remembers the answered question.

To try the same thought experiment with misinformation, suppose I tell a patron that the king in 1630 is Robert the Bruce, and I do it in front of a tent I borrowed from the Viking Age Club. Will that patron remember the king's name, or the tent frame with the nordic designs?

So what's the application of this? In a negative, "stop that" sense, picking something more plausible, let's say that simultaneously one member has told a patron our shirts are typically cotton, while another member has returned from shopping the event vendors and returned to camp with non-period items or packages which are placed in the open on a tavern table. I can, for whatever reason, it's a busy day or some such, fix only one of those situations. I will go for the visible non-period items every time. The cotton remark will probably be forgotten. The package won't. I'm reminded of a time I had a school group, and suddenly had to fight to get their attention, because someone in the prior group had left a small box of tissues on a bench. It so stuck out that it instantly grabbed their attention. I lost only seconds, but, well, obviously I still remember it, and I suspect that for all my interpretive skill that they remember the tissue box as much as anything I said.

In the positive sense, this is why, if you've watched me with patrons, you've probably seen me encourage them to pick up something they're looking at not only in the course of conversing, but as my initial greeting. That's entirely because of how strong tactile impressions are, so I'll almost always try to get patrons to handle something (with a line drawn at things like axes or boiling pots). Making patrons handle something isn't just a way to get them to remember what they handled, but a way of provoking questions, like maybe a kid who carries firewood will ask what we use it for.

So to me, the measure of success isn't whether I got to recite my latest research or the most unexpected facts, but whether a patron asks questions, indicates they might look up something later, or lets me know they didn't know what they just learned. It's safe to assume they didn't know what they just learned, but the fact they say so shows a different level of learning.

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  

Calendar of Events

Be sure to contact your staff
if you plan on attending a show event. Try to give at least a ten day notice when possible. This allows proper planning for the feeding of our members, and in some cases is required by event organizers to allow entry as a participant.
You can call any of the staff members listed, or send an email to staff@clanntartan.org.

MARCH 2007

Staff Meeting @
Yoder's - 4PM 
Saint Christopher's 
Night at the Pub 
Company Drill 
Board Meeting
Tuesday, 7:00
at Yoders' 
noon at McDavids'
Saint Christopher's
Lineup at 2:30PM
The State Capitol grounds
St. Paul, MN 

APRIL 2007

Saint Christopher's 
@ Laurie's 
Night at the Pub 
Company Drill 
Saint Christopher's 
Charles City Military History Days 
Charles City Military History Days 


Event Schedule for the 2007 Season:

Hello all,

The following is a list of the dates of the events that are currently on the schedule for this year. The staff has met and decided to keep this running list of events in the newsletter to give you a chance to get an idea of what is going on this season as well as keep you updated to changes in the schedule.

The column titled status will include the following information.

Tentative- this means that an event organizer or Clann has expressed a strong enough interest in doing this event that it warrants reserving space on the calendar for the event.

Pending- this is the next stage of an event. This means that Maeve has entered serious discussion about Clann doing an event but we are still not committed to the event. You should however if possible think about wether or not you may be able to attend this event.

Scheduled- this level means that the board and staff have approve the event and we are committed to providing manpower to making the event happen. When an event is assigned this level please let Julie know as soon as possible if you can or can not attend this event.

Canceled- This means that for various reasons an scheduled event has been removed from the current season. We will try and give as much notice as we can prior to canceling an event.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me regarding this matter

Maeve Kane.

1/1/2007 Airing of the Tartans
1st Footing
Feb 10-11 2007 Scottish Ramble Finished
Apr 28-29 2007 Charles City Military History Days http://ccmhd.org/ Pending
May 19 2007 MN Scottish Fair and HG - http://www.mnscottishfair.org/ Scheduled
June 9-10 2007 Olde World Renaissance Faire (Twig) http://www.owrenaissancefaire.com/ Pending
Jun 23-24 2007 7/15/2006 Col. Gaffneyis Muster Scheduled
July 12-14, 2007 Dun Gowan Tactical www.dungowan.com Scheduled
Aug 3-5 2007 White Oak Rendezvous Deer River www.whiteoak.org Pending
Sept 1-2 2007 WI Scottish Fair and HG Tentative
Sept 8-9 2007 Des Moines Ren Faire Pending
Oct 4-7 2007 Big Island Rendezvous Pending
Oct 11-13 2007 Mankato History Fest Pending
Oct 17-21 2007 Big Muddy River Rendezvous Tentative


Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  


Map to Board Meetings
Bruce and Julie Yoder's Home
4736 12th Av S, Minneapolis, 55407 
Map to St. Paul location St. Christopher's- Dance
Map to /Quarterly/Annual Meetings
Corcoran Neighborhood Center,
3334 20th Av South, Minneapolis, MN 
Map to the Mpls Comm & Tech College
1st & 3rd Wednesdays dance location  
Map to Marty & Judy Byers home
Location for for Sword Drill

2821 Churchill, Roseville MN 

Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner  

Event Maps and Notification

Charles City Military History Days, April 28-29 2007, Charles City, IA

EVENT LOCATION IS NOT ON THE MAP! The web site didn't have a location listed.

Directions from Minneapolis, specifically 35W South

Take I-35E S toward ALBERT LEA.

Merge onto I-35 S (Crossing into IOWA).

Merge onto US-18 E / IA-27 S via EXIT 190 toward MASON CITY / CHARLES CITY.

Take the CR-B35 exit- EXIT 212- toward CHARLES CITY.

Turn LEFT onto CR-B35.

Stay STRAIGHT to go onto US-218 BR.

Turn RIGHT to stay on US-218 BR.

Turn LEFT onto US-18 / CR-T64 / BRANTINGHAM ST. Continue to follow US-18.

End at Charles City, IA US

Direct link to mapquest map for Charles City:
Link to Mapquest


Board Minutes Staff & Board Directory Guilds
Calendar of Events Maps Announcements
Articles    Event Schedule for the 2007 Season  Event Maps and Notification
 Drill  Captain's Corner