What Price Authenticity?
In honor of International Helmet Awareness Day.
The man in the photo is a historical reenactor from Colonial Williamsburg. His costume and tack are authentic down to his stirrups. Should he ruin the 18thC look by plonking a safety helmet on his head?
I want to say yes. I really, really, do. I stand on my record as a helmet evangelist [Helmet, Yet More, sidebar]. I know there is no such thing as a totally bombproof horse. Even the best-intentioned horse can slip. Plus, there is no totally safe situation. I’ve had a horse fall over with me at a standstill. (Attempting to spook on gravel, I think.)
Much can be done invisibly. For example. wooden carriage shafts are internally reinforced with metal to prevent bars shattering and gouging the horses. Plus, Colonial Williamsburg has the money and expertise to do make the modifications subtle. Most of their buildings are fitted with fire alarm and sprinkler systems. I toured the Governor’s Palace with a 24-year veteran of the fire service and she was only able to spot one alarm.
Colonial Williamsburg already makes visible concessions to safety, see photo. Plus, this would be an opportunity to send a message on the importance of safety over looks.
What would you do?