Welcome to the TLA Event Rating System Page

Living history events vary greatly in the degree of period accuracy required of participants in order that the event produce the correct feel or atmosphere desired by the sponsors of the event. In order to better inform potential participants, the Texian Legacy Association has devised the Event Rating System to better inform participants as to the degree of period accuracy expected.

The rating system is a numeric scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least stringent and 5 being the most stringent requirements. The scale is not designed to be quantitatively precise, but rather a rough, qualitative, "look and feel" guide line. The Texian Legacy Association uses the following definitions:

5. Greatest Historical Period Detail. Use of non-period items by participants is strictly prohibited. No non-period items of any kind may be possessed or utilized by participants during the event. This is the most stringent rating and will probably only be applied to some trekking events.

4. Use of non-period items by participants is strictly limited. For a pre-1840 event, this might mean that ice chests would be acceptable, so long as they were not visible at any time. All other non-period items are unacceptable.

3. Use of non-period items by participants is limited. Non-period items are acceptable so long as the items are not visible at anytime and have no impact on the event. For a pre-1840 event, this would mean that ice chests, zippers, or plastic buttons would be acceptable, so long as they were not visible at any time. Electric generators, flashlights, tennis shoes or non-period cloth goods would not be permitted.

2. Use of non-period items by participants is acceptable so long as the items have no appreciable impact on the event. For a pre-1840 event, this would mean that plastic buttons or non-period cloth would be acceptable.

1. Least Historical Period Detail. At this level, creating a historical atmosphere is not necessary. Speakers, presenters or demonstrators can dress anyway they desire.

P. The "P" suffix designation in a rating denotes that all participants are required to be "in persona" while the public is in camp or for the duration of the event.

The system was designed to enable variations. If the accuracy desired at an event is not specifically defined in the rating system the sponsers of the event can rate it at a level 2.5 or 3.25 with explanatory notes. For the right-brained folks out there, we are trying to keep away from rating an event 2.648219!

Questions on the rating of a particular event should be directed to the event sponsor. They can answer questions on event specifics.

Someone asked me , awhile back, why TLA had implemented a rating system for the living history events that we list. It seems that the rating system has generated a considerable amount of interest and more than a few questions. Some folks actually seem concerned about it.

It's all very simple, really. There are quite a few living history groups, here in Texas, interpreting many different periods of history with many different historical accuracy requirements. Some events you need a persona. Some events are campouts. Some events and groups are merely ceremonial and not exceedingly concerned with "period" accuracy. The question is "What historical accuracy is expected by whom, at what event?"

A person could be a bit put off after spending several thousand dollars and a great deal of time and energy on clothes, camp gear and other items to attend an event only to be rebuffed for not wearing the correct underwear or, in some cases, wearing any underwear. The opposite is also true. When someone interested in a very high degree of historical accuracy attends an event where that degree of accuracy is not required or evident, it can be very frustrating and irritating.

The rating system simply allows event participants to know before hand what is expected. A person who is new to living history should, perhaps, start with groups or events where a high degree of historical accuracy is not critical. Conversely, a person interested in a high degree of historical accuracy should not attend an event that is meant for folks who have not yet reached that level of accuracy, UNLESS that person is far sighted enough to want to share expertise and knowledge or to simply enjoy the company of other similar minded folks.

The rating system is meant to be used by the people sponsoring the different events. They are the ones that tell TLA the level of accuracy they are striving for. Please keep in mind that the rating system is not a value system, in that an event rated as a four is not "better" than one rated as a three. I'm sure there are folks out there who will want to use it as such, but that is not its purpose. With that in mind, I can assure you that there will be very, very few events rated in the highest category.

The Texian Legacy Association philosophy is that there is a place for all groups, at all accuracy levels, and that it benefits us all to support each other. After all, have you ever heard of a major league baseball team that doesn't have a farm system of minor league teams from which to draw next years players? Everyone must start somewhere. The members of TLA belong to and help support several other living history organizations with many different requirements. To withhold support from one group simply because they don't meet a historical accuracy criteria required by another group is, in the long run, self defeating. To do so means that we are eating our seed corn. We can all, from the novice to the master, learn from each other and enjoy the venue we've chosen to express our interests.

That's my take on it. If you have comments, questions or opinions, send them to me at: tladirector@texianlegacy.com

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