The Blacksmiths are part of the Fort Vancouver Historic Trades Guild. The Trades Guild includes the Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Gardeners and Costume Department. Click to read the latest issue of The Forge and Plane.
In October of 2015 the Friends joined the Trade Guild to help sponsor a two day demonstration with Jay Close, a blacksmith trained at Colonial Williamsburg. The photos show kitchen tools and garden implements typical of 19th century ironware that would have been made at the Site. Photographs courtesy of Tom Dwyer.
The Carpenters are a part of the Trades Guild at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, along with the Blacksmith, Gardeners and Costume Department. The work of the Carpenters Shop is featured in The Forge and Plane,the newsletter of the Trades Guild and you can see many examples of their work at the reconstructed Fort. You can access the latest newsletter here.
The photograph shows a hanging cradle with a wooden bed in the background. On the bed are the furs of two red foxes, a mule deer, and a beaver pelt peeking out from under them. The photograph was taken at the Brigade Encampment at the Village House in 2010 and is used courtesy of the National Park Service.
Costume and Textiles
The Costume and Textiles Department 'sets the stage' for the experience of visitors at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Their volunteers with their extraordinary, carefully researched period clothing and knowledge of their characters are a part of every event at the site, from the Vintage Base Ball game to the Lantern Tours. Find out about volunteering for the Costume and Textiles Department here and take a peek behind the scenes here.
Recently, thanks to a generous donor to the Friends who asked that their donation be used to benefit the Costume Department, a workshop was held on how to create ribbon pansies for embellishment of costumes and accessories. See more details here.
The image of essential sewing tools featured on the Costume and Textile Department Link was taken during the Second Year Dame School 11. Photograph courtesy of NPS. Video courtesy of Eileen Trestain.
Inside the Fort Vancouver Costume& Textile Department
Dame School and the Young Engagé School
The Youth Interpretive Training Programs of the Dame School and the Young Engagé School are designed to expose students between the ages of 9 and 18 to the handwork and living skills of the 19th century. Recognizing the need to pass on historic skills to the next generation, Fort Vancouver staff and volunteers help the young people selected for these programs to develop their ability to relate the past to visitors who come to the site.
Youth Volunteer Interpreter Trainees participate in almost all events at Fort Vancouver, McLoughlin House, and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. Their ability to share with young visitors on an equal basis helps history come alive for everyone.
Since many activities during the training occur in full view of visitors, trainees and instructors wear mid 19th century reproduction attire, which is provided through the Period Costume and Textile Department. The daily class luncheon, prepared in the Fort Vancouver kitchen, features foods appropriate to the historical period, and is served at a community table.
Classes prepare young participants to serve in the following year as Volunteer Interpreters under the watchful eyes of school instructors and the Fort Vancouver staff at both the Fort and the McLoughlin House in Oregon City.
Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site operates the Friends Shop in the newly remodeled Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is located at 1501 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, Washington. Please fill out our contact form if you are interested in volunteering at the Friends Shop.
Many thanks to Greg Emetaz, who designed the logo for the Friends!
The Garden Volunteers are part of the Fort Vancouver Historic Trades Guild. They plant and tend the beautiful garden at the reconstructed Fort. Many of the plants are heirloom varieties and the produce is used to prepare historically accurate meals for events at the Site. Find out more about the Garden and read about the work of Gardening volunteers in The Forge and Plane, the Trade Guild Newsletter.
The photograph of flowers in the basket was taken at the 2010 Brigade Encampment at the Village House and is used by permission of NPS.
The McLoughlin House, residence of John McLoughlin, is part of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and is located in Oregon City, Oregon. McLoughlin was Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver from 1825-1845, and moved to the house in Oregon City in 1846. Find out more about the history of the McLoughlin House here.
The top photograph, taken October 2, 2010, shows the west elevation of the McLoughlin House. In 2008, in preparation for painting the house, the original colors were determined by destructive testing. Squares of paint were removed from the exterior of the house at multiple locations, from the most recent color all the way down to the wood. These paint squares were then analyzed to find the oldest paint color. The entire house was creamy white, just as it appears today.
The lower photograph shows a display case in the upper hallway of the house featuring original textiles and a Scottish costume from the McLoughlin House Collection of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Photographs are used courtesy of NPS.
In addition to the specific guilds and groups mentioned, there are many additional volunteer roles available at the Site - there is likely one that would suit your interest, personality and skills. The National Park Service posts current volunteer opportunities at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on their website. Opportunities cover the wide range of periods and activities represented at the Site - involving history, archeology, aviation, education and more. Check them out!
The featured photograph shows an NPS volunteer cooking luncheon for the twenty-five participants in the 2010 Second Year Dame School. It is used by permission of the National Park Service.
NPS Training Opportunities
BLACK POWDER TRAINING: NPS has just announced the dates for the 2017 Black Powder Training. If you would like to participate in the program, you must be certified every year, no exceptions. The minimum age is 18. The training is broken into two different periods, 18th century and 19th century. The 18th century covers the fur trade era of the fort; weapons training will cover flint lock musket, swivel gun, and four pound naval gun. The 19th century training covers the U.S. Army at Vancouver Barracks and includes 1861 musket, 1873 breech loading rifle, 1873 Colt revolver, and 1841 mountain howitzer. The 18th Century Black Powder Training will take place on Saturday, June 17th starting at 10:00 am inside the Fort. You must be dressed in period clothing with a hat, or wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, closed shoes and a hat, all natural fibers. No nylon/poly clothing. Water and hearing/eye protection will be provided. The 19th Century Black Powder Training will take place on Saturday, July 8 starting at 10:00 am. The training site will be on the lawn to the east of the museum hanger at Pearson. The same rules apply as with the 18th century training, you must be in period clothing (18th or 19th C.), or appropriate natural fibers. For both trainings, every effort will be made to instruct in a thorough and safe manner, with as little wasted time as possible. The training will end when everyone finishes, usually around lunch time. If you are interested in attending please e-mail Ranger Mike Twist at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which training(s) you would like to attend. E-mail with any questions as well.
Also - see the image to the left for details on a 19th Century Military Saber Training opportunity. The eight week training will take place in partnership with Academia Duellatoria and will focus on the saber techniques adopted by the U.S. Army in the mid-19th century. The course will also contain information related to the history of dragoons (mounted infantry), who were the only enlisted-rank soldiers that received sabers as part of their personal weaponry. Tuition is $100 per person, and training takes place on Mondays from July 10 through August 28th 2017 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Participants must be age 12 or older (this is a great opportunity for youth volunteers). Participation is limited to 12 individuals.