I have been working quite steadily on a very important project to crowdfund the beginnings of a new chapter in medieval living history and reenactment. The Dinthwaite Medieval Village Foundation will be a reenactment first village dedicated to the hobby of interpreting and recreating the middle ages.
Our Hobby is Without a Home
In America, at least, we lack dedicated spaces which cater to the look, feel, and particulars of a medieval environment for our events and meetings. Many of us get the most immersion in woods and fields, the rest of us make do with parks, and at worst we ignore the visuals of gymnasiums and convention halls. The spaces that do exist with a medieval vibe always have a different purpose which our community has to work around. Ren fairs are for profit businesses, not playgrounds for immersive living history. Open-air museums often accommodate living history better. But, they have to balance their school groups and public hours. They are often unable to afford to shut the public out and close off clashing modern aesthetics. It does not need to be this way, and I am here to change it.
A Reenactor-First Medieval Village
While there are reenactment or living history groups, no organization focuses on creating, establishing, and maintaining the space for reenactment groups to perform their activities. Likewise, it is difficult to find spaced to conduct long-term experimental archeology . These are all the types of activities enjoyed by those with access to land of their own. Having land is a luxury. While many groups have benefited from “knowing a guy” spaces, these are notorious for their unreliability. Many a reenactor has sunk hours of time and countless dollars into physical spaces which they had to abandon because they no longer have access.
The answer to these issues is to build a medieval village and its trappings from infrastructure to material culture. This village has the the express focus of serving the medieval living history and reenactment community. It will not be an open air museum or a medieval fair or a medieval themed amusement park. Immersion events will not have to fit in around the other business. The village will focus on living history and reenactment events and projects.
Living history is also more than events; it is about recreating and reliving elements of the past. The site will incorporate “open hours,” not for the public to tour, but for reenactors to use the space for immersion purposes. Examples include exploratory experiences, working on crafts, and enjoying garb in medieval ambiance. Not everything requires the pressures of goal oriented events. To this end, the site will be a home for enduring living history projects and experiments. The kind of projects we can only conduct in an authentic medieval environment. Projects such as agriculture, building construction, and tactics exploration. The first step is creating the legal entity which can achieve this goal.
Enter the Foundation
This first step, before buying land or breaking ground or scheduling events, is to create a legal entity which can be set up to run this endeavor. Dinthwaite Medieval Village Foundation will be a not-for-profit nonstock corporation. Corporations must follow and adhere to their bylaws and articles of incorporation. This first fundraising campaign is for the costs of establishing and perpetuating the corporation. Far larger sums of money will be required in the future for buying land and constructing buildings.
The not-for-profit nature of the corporation prohibits anyone involved from enriching themselves with your money. A nonstock corporation cannot issue stock, and will provide no member interest. There will be no external influence to make profit instead of making an accessible and low to no cost resource. The articles of incorporation and bylaws will force the Foundation to follow fiscally conservative financial planning. They will keep the project focused solely on the medieval living history and reenactment community’s benefit.
The intended area of this village is a rural area of Kansas in the American Midwest, outside the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. This area is suited for a project of this nature as it is centrally located to the entire contiguous US. It will be near the expanding Kansas City International Airport. It is close to the intersection of many interstates, including I-29, I-35, I-49, and I-70, making the area accessible by both air and vehicle travel. Unlike western Kansas, where the jokes about endless flat terrain are truer than humor, the area along the border with Missouri still has an abundance of wooded and hilly areas. This makes “hiding” the village feasible. The climate of the area also varies from snowy and cold to arid and hot. This allows for the exploration of a variety of different cultures based on climate throughout the year.
As a not-for-profit community focused project, the Foundation commits to providing access to its services at little to no cost. This is achieve through a variety of internal controls at the foundation of the corporation. This included the not-for-profit status, volunteerism, and minimizing or eliminating expensive executive compensation. Another key to achieving this goal is pre-financing many of the unavoidable expenses of basic operations through self sustaining investment budgeting. We will be using 3% as our guiding principle, as this is well below long term average returns. Years where the market are healthier will add surplus for future projects as well as buffer for years with weaker return.
For example, Kansas’ cost of filing annual reports is $40. Taking $1,400 and investing it in account(s) which return at or more than 3% interest provides the business $40 a year. This Kickstarter seeks to raise enough to cover the cost of having an attorney review the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and waivers. It will pay the initial filing fee and cover future annual reports. It will establish and pay for a domain and website and secure a postal address.
Incorporating: A Vital First Step
The value of incorporating before anything else cannot be overstated. Once incorporated the Foundation can begin to explore fundraising, financing, grants, and other avenues of fundraising. Many of these are open exclusively or preferentially to business entities. Though a simple first step, it is fundamental to the process of establishing the village. It will be key to and providing the living history and reenactment community the haven they deserve.
I May Never Visit, And I Will Still Contribute
Correct decision! We live in a technological era where even distant locales are as close as the phone in our hand, if people are willing to put in the effort. I will be making this project accessible to the world through liberal leveraging of technology, offering a wide variety of virtual access through live streams, such as lectures and presentations, behind the scene videos, photo and video updates, live Q&As, virtual tours, interactive 360 photography, video hikes, and more. By the time you make it out in person it’ll already feel like a second home.
Still A Ways To Go
We have a long road ahead to finish funding. Please support on Kickstarter. Rewards begin as little as $25, and for a small investment now you can create a huge change in the future of our hobby.