Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Woodlands Interpreter" in Warwick August 7th

As a special treat at the A.W. Buckbee Center, on August 7, 7-8:30PM, The Warwick Historical Society will present Ken Hamilton, the “Woodlands Interpreter”; this is a costumed performance of early 18th century Native American life in the New York wilderness. Hamilton is a key contributor to the program at this year’s Warwick Historical Society Summer History Camp; he has set up an authentic camp at the Historical Society complete with lodge for the week's activities.
Hamilton is an accomplished blacksmith, silversmith, leather master, stone carver and a professional history interpreter who makes prized historical reproductions of late 17th and early 18th century French, Dutch, English, Swedish and the like trade objects from early American colonial history. Hamilton is well versed in the colonial trade period having produced numerous examples of historically accurate goods crafted from authentic examples in his own personal collection.
 At one outdoor history program for middle school students Hamilton donned an authentic Wabanaki costume, set up camp next to a pond amongst beaver gnawed tree stumps, and assumed a persona that left many with their mouths’ agape; this is what this proposed fundraiser hopes to achieve for the audience. This program will be specific to Native American culture in this region.
My first acquaintance with Ken Hamilton was while he worked as a costumed interpreter at Fort Ticonderoga some fifteen years ago”, said Dr. Robert Schmick, executive director of the Warwick Historical Society. “The authenticity of his dress and manner were unmatched; his immodest and revealing costume recreates for the modern onlooker something equivalent to the unnerving exoticism experienced by Europeans a couple of centuries or more ago.”
Later we met again in Maine, said Dr. Schmick, and we organized a blacksmithing class entitled “Tools and Hardware of the Historic Fur Trade” which resulted in blacksmithing students, including myself, learning to make a forge welded tomahawk, strike-o-light, and a hunting knife. As a professional interpreter who has developed programs for museums and schools throughout the northeast, Hamilton has garnered much attention. His wife Nikki, a Penobscot, often joins him in all day school and museum programs making prized baskets in 17th or 18th century character.
Hamilton’s work has been represented in film documentaries and films (some of his costumes and reproduction tools and weapons were used in the film The Last of the Mohicans), museum exhibits, private collections and frontier oriented Native American art galleries. Ken was an integral contributor to the development of the living history presentation of a Wapanoag village at Plimoth Plantation advising interpreters on the recreation of Native American life in proximity to the Colonial New England settlement presented.
Johnson Hall in upstate New York also exhibits his hand-made historical reproductions of trade items helping to recreate a home once inhabited by British Indian Affairs agent William Johnson, a European who bridged the European world with Native Americans including Joseph Brant, his brother-in-law, who touched our own region as a foe to the Warwick Militia at the Battle of Minisink one July day in 1779.
For more information call: 845-986-3236, or email us at The A.W. Buckbee Center is located in the former Albert Wisner Public Library at 2 Colonial Avenue, Warwick, NY. Suggested donation: $10; proceeds to go the Historical Society and the performer.

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