For this special hands-on event, Fort visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s to learn necessary skills to survive on the frontier. As background, many of the 19th century adventurers who came west were farmers, clerks, smiths or bookkeepers and not prepared for life on the frontier. When they made the decision to leave behind their old lives and head into the largely unknown western lands of North America, they had to acquire new knowledge, new skills, and adapt their life to survival in the wilderness. Pioneers had to learn how to use and maintain weapons and firearms, how to hunt and gather food, cook without a stove or fireplace, care for wounds and sicknesses, find fuel, and light fires without the aid of matches. For many, this new life was a challenging transformation, while others discovered new talents.
As event highlights, Fort guests will view demonstrations of how fire is started with flint and steel (and see if they can create a spark!), explore what plants could be used for food or medicine, and how to treat wounds when no physicians were available. Guests will also learn how foods can be prepared and preserved, unexpected places to find fuel, and see many different types of guns and how they were used for survival. And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.