Living History Days are held every second Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm from October through April.
October’s theme of way finding will include an interactive story of great explorations by Fathers Eusebio Kino, Francisco Garces, and Pedro Font, as well as the soldier Juan Bautista de Anza (the younger).
Knowing how to get from one place to another in an unmapped landscape was critical to survival during the Spanish Colonial period. The fall of 1775 was a particularly pivotal year for travelers in the Santa Cruz watershed then called the Pimeria Alta. The transfer of troops from the presidio in Tubac to the Tucson Presidio and the settlement of the Presidio in San Francisco began that year. The location tools used by priests are still in use today: maps, the telescope, the compass, astrolabe, and sextant/quadrant. Many settlers on the move at that time also used naturally-occurring landmarks and “dead reckoning.” With the explorers’ stories as a backdrop, volunteers at the Presidio will engage visitors in reliving tales of daring using Father Kino’s map of 1701, the explorers’ diary entries, and replicas of the telescope, compass, and astrolabe they carried.
In addition to the way finding activities, visitors will experience the day-to-day lives of soldiers and their families who lived in the Presidio in the late 1700s. Demonstrations of children’s games, weaving, and blacksmithing are held, and fresh baked bread and handmade tortillas are available to sample. Soldiers practice their drills and fire a four-pound bronze cannon, a replica of cannons used at the Presidio in the late 1700s.
Interactive opportunities allow visitors to pump the bellows of the blacksmith’s forge, spin cotton, and learn how the soldiers fire their muskets.
Admission to Living History Days is included in the $5 admission to the Museum. Children ages 6-14 are $1 and children 5 and under and Presidio Trust members are free.