In search of a new life, emigrants once came to California by land or by sea.
Now, California State Parks, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) and Friends of Sutter’s Fort will present an interactive and fun “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea” event on Saturday, February 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s to understand the two different ways emigrants originally came to California – by land or by sea – while sharing the unique challenges they faced and what daily life was like during their journeys. As background, Sutter’s Fort was once home to sailors who “jumped ship,” trappers who became overland trail guides because of the failing fur trade, wagon train parties looking for a new life, and soldiers who served in the Mexican-American War and whose services were terminated in California – 3,000 miles from their homes in the east.
As an event highlight, some of the special hands-on activities awaiting Fort visitors include helping to pack a wagon while making choices about what to bring along for their journey of a lifetime, determining latitude with a sailing sextant, hoisting a laden barrel, weaving rope, learning simple knots, creating maps with available resources, and even marching to the beat of a military drum. And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon. Fort guests will also hear the amazing tales of adventure and survival these nomads experienced on the journeys, including from reenactors of the Mormon Battalion who will talk about the perils of their overland journey to California and their role in the Mexican-American War.
Admission to Sutter’s Fort SHP costs during “Hands on History” days is $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under (regular admission pricing is $5 per adult, $3 for youth). With interpretive themes that change monthly, the popular and interactive “Hands on History” events typically happen on the third Saturday all year long.
For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit SuttersFort.org.