School of Instruction 2021
This year School of Instruction is going to look a little different! Due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, the Brigade Board thought it best to host a virtual School of Instruction this year. However, regardless of this new format, the Brigade remains committed to providing cutting edge, authentic, and well researched presentations and workshops to its members.
We have so many fantastic ideas and presentations to share with everyone, so many, in fact that we have decided to spread the School out over three weekends! The Brigade will be bringing you over 18 amazing videos and 5 fantastic virtual workshop experiences. Join us on 3/13 & 3/14, as well as 3/20 & 3/21, and finally on 3/27 for all of these great experiences.
The Brigade is bringing TWO TYPES of virtual experiences to you, Workshops and Video Sessions. There are 4 workshops that you must Register for! You can find those links by the title of the workshop below. The rest of the presentations are Video Sessions. Those videos will be posted on Facebook AND in the Members Only Section of the Brigade's Website. You DO NOT have to register for the School of Instruction's Video Sessions, they will premier on the website and Facebook naturally.
Videos will be premiered at the scheduled time on the Brigade Facebook page. No Facebook? No problem! All of these videos will also be found in the Brigade Members Only section for our members to access at any time after their first premier!
Please check out the schedule below for our amazing upcoming presenters and workshops! If you have any questions please reach out to Dakota Griffin at .
Note: All times are EST Note: Schedule is subject to change
Besides bringing fantastic video content, the Brigade will also offer several workshops in which participants can actively join in from the comfort of their own homes. By registering at www.brigade.org/school2021 , members can register for any of the workshops below! On the day of the workshop, a Zoom link will be sent out via email, and individuals will be able to be with the presenter live and work on their project.
You must register for these workshops by February 18th, in order to receive the Zoom Link. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dakota Griffin at
3/13 - Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM
10 AM to 3 PM - Civilian Frock Coat Workshop with Henry Cooke Part I -
Join us for a two part workshop with renown Henry Cooke. Henry will take each participant through the process of creating their own Civilian Frock Coat, tailored to their measurements. With several "teachable moments" along the way, this virtual workshop will provide an opportunity for every participant to complete or nearly complete their coat.
3/20 - Saturday - 10 AM to 3 PM
10 AM to 3 PM - Civilian Frock Coat Workshop with Henry Cooke Part II
1 PM to 3 PM - CCM Roundtable with Mary Diaman -
“Remember the ladies…” It has been nearly two-hundred and fifty years since Abigail Adams issued that statement in a letter to her husband. During this first CCM Roundtable, all civilian members are welcomed to present their ideas, discuss their projects, and bring anything to the “table”. We hope to see you there!
3/27 - Saturday - 10 AM to 12 AM
10 AM to 11 AM - “To Smell as Sweet: Making Sachets” with Dakota Griffin -
In this hour long workshop participants will be brought through the history of Sachets as well as their multifaceted purpose. Each participant who registers will receive a kit with fabric, spices, and thread, enough to complete their Sachet. A very easy and simple process; a great project for those new to the hobby, new to sewing, or those who just want to add to their historical knowledge.
10 AM to 12 AM - “Making Spatterdashers” with James McKane -
Spatterdashes/gaiters are used in both military and civilian context all throughout the 18th century. They are worn with breeches and act as some protection for the shoe and stockings. Attendees will be sent a pattern and are responsible for their own material as according to the pattern. A simple project, but one that can really improve a historical impression. Hope to see you there!
Video Presentations ~
3/13 - Saturday: 10 AM - 4PM
10 AM to 12AM - At the Georgian Dinner Table with Neil DeMarino
Working from various 18th century cookery books and cooking at a hearth, we will be preparing various meat and vegetable dishes, as well as various baked goods, which could grace any Georgian dining table. Don’t miss these fantastic presentations!
1 PM to 2 PM - “Sewing 101 -So, How do I do this? ” with Henry Cooke
This class will discuss and demonstrate the tools and techniques used in creating Revolutionary War era military and civilian clothing:
- Measuring for proper fit - Adjusting a pattern
- How to cut out various garments - Fitting dos and don'ts
- Interfacings and their use, including "crans" and "button stands "- Pressing techniques with period and modern irons
- How to do the basic stitches needed to construct and finish period men's clothing
In addition to demonstrating some of these processes and techniques, we will also look at examples of period garments where these techniques were used.
3 PM to 4PM - “The Tinsmith in America: The Trade, Materials, Tools, & Products” with Billy McMillen
Bill McMillen, from Glenmont NY, has been a practicing tinsmith for over 35 years. He has taught beginning and advanced classes at many historic sites in the East and Midwestern U.S. He owns a complete set of eighteenth century tin tools plus an extensive collection of early nineteenth century tin tools. He also owns a large library of books about metal working as well as many original pieces of tinware. His reproduction work may be seen in many historic sites. He has lectured internationally on tinsmithing history and served as consultant on the reproduced eighteenth century tinsmith shop in Colonial Williamsburg which is the first of its kind in the US.
3/14 - Sunday 10 AM - 2 PM
10AM - 11 AM Putting the "us" in US History: How to Incorporate Diverse Points of View into your Interpretation” with Daniel Sieh
This presentation aims to give tips, offer guides and some insight into how a modern living-historian or reenactor can better educate the public by telling stories of those most often neglected by the history books. More importantly, on how to do it in a tasteful manner with respect to the source material and your audience.
11:30 AM - 12:30 AM- “Love, Marriage, and Disappointment after the Revolution” with Charlene Boyer
In the revolutionary era the function of marriage and family in American society shifted and changed. Husband and wife, father and mother, daughter and son–all took on new meanings in this period. Parents and children needed to negotiate new concepts of freedom with old concepts of loyalty and duty. This redefined American family emerged along with the new nation. The Revolution’s questioning of authority and emphasis on personal happiness contributed to the decline in the power of the patriarchal husband/father and the rise of an increasingly child-centered family presided over by a loving mother. The emotional lives of Americans would never be the same.
1 PM to 2 PM - “Eight Coats, Seven Shirts, Fifteen Fathom Wanpum: Early Colonial Settlement and the First Deeds” with Drew Shuptar Rayvis
Explore the interconnected relationships between the Dutch, Swedes, English and Algonkian peoples in their respective regions/colonies. Track the adaptation of Native American life to European settlement and trade goods, including the importance and use of wampum through this critical period along the Atlantic and mid-Atlantic regions (south western CT to MD). Understand the magnitude of the earliest American culture clashes through customs of war, adoption, captivity, alliance, friendships and marriages between Natives, Europeans and Africans. Contrast the discrepancies in the concepts of land ownership and usage. Discuss the overshadowed early colonial conflicts: the Peach War, Kieft's War, King Philip's War and King William’s War.
3/20 - Saturday 10 AM - 12 PM
10 AM to 11 AM - “Interpreting Nursing during the War for Independence: Background and Practical How-to’s” with Andrea Ackerman PhD
Join us for this fantastic presentation with Andrea Ackerman as she takes us through Interpreting Nursing during the War for Independence. An overview of the practice of nursing during the conflict drawn from primary sources followed by examples of living history presentations by the nurse, the physician and the patient.
11 AM to 12 AM - “The Scourge of War; Smallpox During the American Revolution” with Douglas Aumack
Smallpox, a fatal disease for centuries, was an enemy deadlier to the Continental Army than the British forces. This presentation will describe the symptoms of smallpox, how it threatened to annihilate George Washington's forces, and how the Medical Department battled it during the war.
3/21 - Sunday 10 AM - 2 PM
10 AM to 11 AM - “Mind the Step...an introduction to 18th Social Dance” with Sue Braisted
This presentation will feature a Lecture demo of 18th century dances as they would have been done in the ballroom and in the garden. Join us as we look at a basic ballroom minuet and move onto country dance figures.
11 PM to 12 PM - “Recruitment and Retainment” with Steve Gardner
In this presentation by Steve Garner, Deputy Commander of the Brigade as well as the commander of HM 54th Regiment, learn and discuss the best recruiting practices and techniques as well as the various methods of unit retention.
12 PM to 1 PM - “Handkerchiefs, and Other Bits of Cloth: Neckwear of 18th century towns-people & sailors in Anglo-America during the Revolutionary War era” with Ruth Hodges
Come on a journey exploring the neckwear of men and women during the 18th century. We will examine period newspapers, dictionaries, court records, and hundreds of images to explore the following questions:
What terminology was in common usage for different types of neckwear during this time period?
How did the neckwear reflect the social status of its wearer? Who wore what?
How was the neckwear worn by women and men?
Did the bits of cloth used for neckwear have other uses?
1 PM to 2 PM - “Event Planning 101” with Mark Hurwitz
“The amateurs discuss tactics: the professionals discuss logistics.” - Napoleon
So, you have an idea or perfect site for a Bar event, how can I make it happen? With close to 50 years of Brigade experience, and 42 years at the National Level, Past Commander Mark Hurwitz will review the basics in what it takes to organize and execute the planning of a BAR Encampment. Want to put together an Authentic Weekend, Battle Reenactment, Brigade Encampment, Firelock Match, School, Municipal/County Celebration or Tactical Exercise? Here’s the know-how on how to make an idea a successful reality.
3/27 - Saturday 10 AM - 12 PM
10 AM to 11 AM - “The Steuben Manual” by Mark Hurwitz featuring the 3rd NJ Regiment
This video series brought to you by the 3rd New Jersey Regiment will focus on the key points of the Steuben Manual. From basic drills, to proper firearm procedures, this video is perfect for those who just joined the hobby, those looking to brush up on their tactics, and those who want to refresh the art of the drill.
11 AM of 12 PM - “The 1764 Manual Exercise” by Chris Pratt and Brandon Fisichella featuring HM 54th Regiment
This video series by Brandon Fisichella and Chris Pratt will focus on the niceties of the 1764 Manual Exercise as used by the British Army during the American War of Independence. Specific attention shall be paid to the Position of a Soldier Under Arms and the Firings, with an emphasis on the Manual’s original language alongside clear modern interpretation of its meaning. The authors hope this extensive video series will prove especially helpful to new recruits of British regular-army units, as well as be an aid to those more experienced with the British drill.