On Saturday, March 18, the fort will host “Frontier Skills Day.”
The National Park Service is offering two upcoming opportunities for individuals to “step back in time” and experience life as it might have been 170 years ago at a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site staff and volunteers will lead two immersive experiences at the site over the next few months.
On Saturday, March 18, the fort will host “Frontier Skills Day.” This one-day experience will allow adults to experience fur trade life of the 1840s. Participants will perform hands-on activities in roles as traders, laborers, domestics, hunters/trappers, carpenters, and blacksmiths.
Activities might include learning Indian Sign Language, adobe work, frontier cooking, using 19th century hand tools, animal packing, or beaver trapping depending on which role you occupy.
Open slots for this experience are extremely limited as many roles have already been filled. Currently two openings each remain in the trader, domestic, and hunter/trapper categories.
Pre-registration is required for this event, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on that Saturday. Cost to attend is $20 which includes supplies and materials for living history activities and a period meal. Registration forms and more information are available at the park’s website www.nps.gov/beol, click on “Frontier Skills Day” or you can stop by or call the park at (719) 383-5026.
For those seeking a longer, deeper immersive experience, and the chance to live at the fort for a few days, the site will host a Living History Encampment in June. This 5-day, 3-night event will run June 7 – 11 with two days of classroom training followed by three days of living in the fort.
This event offers the unique opportunity to experience the past for an extended period of time and get a much deeper understanding of life at an isolated trading post in the 1840s. Roles include trader, trapper-hunter, laborer, blacksmith, carpenter, domestic, or military engineer.
Registration forms and information for this event are also available at the park website or by calling (719) 383-5023. Cost for this experience is $300 for adults and $150 for children (must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). This cost includes instruction, clothing and equipment, as well as food and accommodations while living at the fort. Graduate-level college credit is also available.
Both of these events will focus on the history of the fort as it relates to the cross-cultural relationships prevalent in this area during the 1830s and 1840s, while participants get to experience life as it was in the past. You are invited to join us to step back in time at Bent’s Old Fort.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov