Ilena Moses: Historical Reenactor

Sue Moses

Ilena M. '24, at a Civil War Reenactment

November 18, 2019

While most Westridge middle schoolers spend their free time playing sports and binge-watching Netflix, Ilena M. ‘24 is busy staging historical reenactments. Historical reenactment is when people reenact a historical period or event. For Ilena, historical reenactment is “just about fun, messing around and teaching people about history.” 


Ilena started performing historical reenactment in fourth grade, doing mostly Civil War reenactment while volunteering at the Heritage Square Museum. “A Civil War reenactment is usually a weekend-long event where reenactors set up tents and tiny, immersive ‘exhibits,’ hold mock battles, and basically more or less live in the time period. Often during the day they're open to [the general public] to observe and learn about the history,” Ilena told Spyglass.


Ilena has always loved history and going to museums, and there she would see other people doing historical reenactment. She knows her interest is rather unusual for middle schoolers, but that hasn’t deterred her passion. “I think it's weird, not typical, and a lot of fun.” 


Ilena’s favorite part of historical reenactment is the community. Everyone is different and approaches their part in a different way. Some are very strict while performing. Others will play on their phones when no one is looking. She likes the fact that everyone is from different backgrounds and ages. 


Ilena believes historical reenactment brings together a miscellaneous group of people who might not meet otherwise. She believes that those are the people you learn the most from, and for Ilena, historical reenactment creates a diverse environment of people who are all connected by a passion for history.