Hi, I’m Monique, and I’m Madame History.
By day, I’m a content marketing professional, but by night -and on most weekends- I can be found deep in history and dressed for the occasion. I’ve been giving historic tours since 2015 but I’ve been a history lover my entire life.
I’ve had a thing for “old-timey stuff” and playing dress-up since I was little.
It started with books like Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prarie. I played pretend in the woods and of course, that required costumes and crowns made of flowers.
I spent a lot of my time in New Brunswick and loved visiting King’s Landing, a 300-acre 19th-century village filled with historic buildings and reenactors. I even went to reenactor summer camp!
As a teen, I loved Victoria Magazine, crumbling volumes of poetry, and theatre. (I wore jodhpurs…and we didn’t even own a horse. I legit wore a Gibson Girl hairstyle in high school. You know where this goes.)
As an adult, I got involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international non-profit volunteer educational organization devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat, and culture.
It employs knowledge of history to enrich the lives of participants through events, demonstrations, and other educational presentations and activities.
It’s basically a full-immersion historical LARP, complete with battles. And yes, I did fight in some of them, with about 3,000 of my best nerd friends from across the globe.
It’s a great place for storytelling and experimenting with things that we read and discover, like obscure recipes.
Here, I’m making a 15th-century recipe called “The Garbage” which includes all the odd parts of the chicken. This was at the end of “chicken harvest day” at our friends’ farm.
Jill was really patient as we made this weird thing, but everyone ate it. It tasted better than it looked.
Anyway, this is what I often do on the weekends with other crazy friends into experimental archeology. If that sounds like a good time, you can learn more at our regional SCA group’s website.
Madame History won’t always just be me, however! I’m currently working with a few select historians, reenactors, storytellers, and educators to bring fresh, fascinating content and experiences for your enjoyment!
How I Met Madame Jones
Bangor Historical Society had a walking tour, the Devil’s Half Acre, which had lain dormant for some time. While talking about Bangor’s colorful personalities, I suggested to my friend Melissa, then the director of the BHS, that the tour be delivered by Bangor’s notorious Madame, Fan Jones.
I began to offer a rebooted Devil’s Half Acre tour in June of 2015, in full Victorian costume, all the layers, from stockings to bustle to petticoat to overdress.
One hot summer night, I decided to skip out on the top two layers and just wear the underdress.
It proved to be a hit (and much more comfortable!) and while the real Fan would have absolutely not been seen in such a state of undress, it works for modern audiences.
Fan Jones is a captivating character. “My” version of Fan was created based on local legend and historic accounts of the woman herself (and I’m always learning more about her!) In spite of her fame and generosity, while she rests in a prominent, front plot in Mount Hope Cemetery, she doesn’t have a headstone or marker to her name.
She’s become a better-remembered icon than some of her sisters: the brothel in the novel The Strange Woman is reported to be based on her Harlow Street property, and Ardeana Hamlin Knowles‘s well-loved novel Pink Chimneys features Fanny, a fictional character loosely based on the real Jones, a boutique Maine-made gin named for her, and even -briefly- a small local rock band.
While there are many other stories I’m working on telling, I will always be happy to spend time “being Fan” and look forward to my regular “hustle in the bustle” walking tours of the neighborhoods she loved.