Old Bedford Village 2009

Posted By on August 20, 2009

Last weekend I had the great opportunity to play Doctor at Old Bedford Village in Bedford, PA.  While mostly a 19th Century site, it is also the location of old Fort Raystown- an outpost during the French and Indian War.

I was given the Apothecary shop to operate my “hospital” from, but to also discuss the role of an Apothecary in an 18th Century town, as well as the medicines of the wilderness.

It was very hot.  No matter how many windows or doors I had opened, there was little escape from the humidity and the heat.  I was fortunate that the Highland Regiment kept me hydrated, my unit, Dagworthy’s Company of the Maryland Forces, kept me fed, and I had a chair to rest upon when there weren’t many people in the shop.

There was a good turnout.  I had people in the shop consistently from about 10 in the morning until we closed at around 4:30 in the afternoon Saturday, and from 11 until 4 on Sunday.  Most asked great questions, and were truly engaged in my speaking.  Again I was told that I should be a teacher.  Since last going out as Surgeon (Fort Ligonier in july), I have added about 15-20 herbs to my collection, as well as tow, sponges, and amputation leathers (to pull back the skin to expose the bone during amputation).  These are great tools, as children can touch them and feel them, and they provide a physical as well as the mental education.  The Leathers themselves also seem to open up a window in the imagination as well- when discussing them I had 2 individuals on 2 separate occasions pass out from my discussions.  The heat was more than likely the primary factor, but I plan on keeping a bucket of water and a box of Sawdust nearby in the future.

Sunday I was also able to perform a Bullet extraction on Private Oulette.  While we only had a family of 4 in attendance, they asked good questions while I was able to practice the full process.  At Fort Ligonier in October I’ll be able to perform this again, and wanted to make sure that I could do it with only minor blood, as the museum curator there has asked for it to be less bloody than I would usually choose to do.  Of course I was spoiled from how much blood we let fly at Niagara.

In the future, I think it may be a good idea for me to discuss with the organizer of the event the possibility of having a medical demonstration on the schedule after a skirmish, to demonstrate bullet extraction of the era on someone who may have fallen in battle.  I think that’ll be the best way to get individuals to come to the hospital, and provide me the opportunity to educate even further than just discussing the implements.  Additionally, I need to study up on the herbs I just added to the kit.

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