The Ozark Medieval Fortress

I thought I had mentioned Guédelon Castle in a previous post, or posts, but I couldn’t find it in a cursory search of posts. Located in the Burgundy region of France, the object of Guédelon Castle was to build a castle using the same techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. The project has been going for roughly 25 years now.

Artist's depiction of the completed Ozark Medieval Fortress, which was originally projected to be completed in 2030

Artist’s depiction of the completed Ozark Medieval Fortress, which was originally projected to be completed in 2030

I thought it would be interesting if someone tried doing this in the US, but was unaware that there was indeed such a project:   The  Ozark Medieval Fortress in Lead Hill, Arkansas. The  Ozark Medieval Fortress was run by the same people who run Guédelon Castle.  Unfortunately, this project has been on hold since January 2012 in hope that someone new will take on the project.

It is up for sale  It would be nice if there was an “angel” who would take over this project: perhaps a US University with a Medieval Studies Department (as well as an engineering department) or a wealthy American who would be interested in an educational project.  I’m sure this would make a super tax shelter if properly created as a charity.

Deanna Leiber has a really great post on why this project was a flop: Annales Historiae: 6 Lessons We Can Learn from the Ozark Medieval Fortress.  While the concept of a North American Guédelon Castle is appealing, she makes some good points for why this particular project didn’t work.

I’m not sure how much the recession played in this being a failure, but I do have to agree with Don’t Start an Expensive, Tourism-Based Project in the Middle of Nowhere and Don’t Start an Expensive Project with Out-of-Touch Investors. As she  pointed out, how many people would be interested in a medieval castle in that part of the world?  On the other hand, Ms. Leiber is from that part of the world and expressed great enthusiasm for the project.  The real issue is how to market it to the US public.

Yes, the other points are also valid, but I think a major part of this was that it was a poor location to start. Also, the project never got the attention it should have deserved. I’ve known about Guedelon since 2009, yet I had never heard of this project.

I’d love for this project to be revived, but I don’t think there is much hope unless more people learn about it. The bottom line would be tourism, not education. Unless the project is presented in a way that can be entertaining as well as educational, there is no way this will make it in the US.

Of course, my main reason for doing this post is to get word out about The  Ozark Medieval Fortress in the hopes that someone will revive the project.

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