Period handicrafts and French-Canadian music will be featured May 18, during Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s annual celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday. The event at the Fort, located in Point Defiance Park, will take place 11 am to 5 pm.
"Visitors can learn 19th century games and play croquet with the Fort's re-enactors," said Mike McGuire, Education Curator. "Festivities also include cannon salutes, musket volleys, and complimentary tea and cookies."
A dozen artisans will be selling traditional arts and crafts in the 19th Century Artisan and Garden Market. The array of wares includes iron work by John Simpkins, cedar bark baskets by Judy Bridges, and handspun and hand-dyed wool work by Elaine Thompson — all local artists. Plants from the Fort’s gardens will also be for sale and WSU Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions.
Olympia-based Les Gens des Chutes will be fiddling French-Canadian music through the early afternoon. They will teach willing visitors an easy group dance from old Quebec. The music reflects the heritage of many of the original Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) laborers at Fort Nisqually.
Re-enactors will answer visitor’s questions as they cook in the kitchen, hang out the laundry, hammer in the blacksmith’s shop, and elsewhere bring the Fort to life.
The birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819-1901) was celebrated by her subjects throughout the British Empire. At HBC forts across North America, the custom usually called for the declaration of the day as a holiday — all the laborers and servants had the day off. Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837. She ruled for almost 64 years, longer than any other British monarch to date, and was the reigning monarch for most of Fort Nisqually's active period (1833-1869).
Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Visitors travel back in time and explore 19th century life on Puget Sound. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store.
Admission is: adults $7.50; seniors, military, students $6; Ages 4-17 $5 and Ages 3 and under free. For additional information, please contact Fort Nisqually at (253) 591-5339, or visit www.fortnisqually.org.