Educational Outreach

The Tesoro Cultural Center’s Onsite Programs

Historic Educational
Trunk Show & Tour

tesoro educational outreach campfireA Fourth Grade Study of the Bent’s Fort Period (1830s-40s) of early Colorado History

Tesoro offers a program designed for all ages about Colorado’s early history. Groups of 25 (or more) can schedule a trunk show and tour led by a historical interpreter in 1830s authentic attire. Audience members are selected to try on historic clothing that highlights the ethnicity and contributions of the many cultures that traded at the fort. The half-day program operates throughout the year. The interactive trunk show and tour meets the curriculum requirements for grades K-8 in History, Geography and Economics. For more information and booking please call 303-839-1671.

Program Highlights Include
  • Period clothing for the students to try on
  • Blackfeet style tipi (seasonal)
  • Show-and-tell with period artifacts
  • Lunch or snack (optional)
About Our Program

The Tesoro Cultural Center’s Public Education Program is designed to engage Colorado students in the living history aspects of the Bent’s Fort (1830s-40s) historical period. Many cultures traded at Bent’s Old Fort, from the Cheyenne, Ute and Pawnee tribes to French, British and American fur trappers. As Bent’s Fort, (located in present day La Junta, Colorado) was on the border of Old Mexico, which was occupied by Spain until 1821, there were both Spanish and Mexican traders and businessmen. This “melting pot” of cultures is a large and important aspect of Colorado history.

This program teaches students the history of early day Colorado, economics, and how this multi-cultural community succeeded through constructive problem solving, communications and trading in the 19th century. This program can involve a focus on the math and economics, arts & crafts, music, and culinary arts, depending on the needs of the school.

The Tesoro Cultural Center’s goal with our educational outreach program is to reach out to students, and by extension, the school administrators and community to educate them about the rich culture of the Early West and their importance to the history of Colorado. In so doing, we hope to increase knowledge and respect for all peoples.

Historical Trunk Show

The trunk show included in our Educational Outreach Program is presented by Tesoro Cultural Center historical interpreters. The trunk show includes replicas of Spanish, Native American, and Mountain Man dress for the students to try on, and the presentation includes storytelling and show-and-tell items. Trunk show items include: Girl’s Indian Leather Dress, Breech Cloth, Belt, Mountain Man Leather Shirt, Cotton Shirt, Leather Leggings, Leather Vaquero Jacket, Powderhorn, Ball Pouch with balls, Sugar Cone, Beaver Plew, Beaver Trap, examples of brain-tanned leather, & Flint and Steel Firestarting kit with pouch. The trunk was created using funds awarded to the Tesoro Cultural Center from the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District.

History of the Program

The Tesoro Cultural Center’s Educational Outreach Program was created in 2005 with the guidance of an educational outreach steering committee. The committee is composed of leading educators and advisors, including an elementary school principal, historical clothing experts, Dr. Patricia Limerick of the Center for the American West, Dr. Tom Noel of the University of Colorado, and Jan Jacobs, former Master Teacher with the Denver Art Museum’s American Indian Collection.

Booking the Program

We offer half-day field trips to The Fort, the first replica of Bent’s Old Fort (built in 1963), just south of Morrison, Colorado. Field trips require 25 or more participants but please call as exceptions may be possible. The field trip includes a walk-through tour of The Fort with a historical interpreter in authentic attire and a trunk show of historical clothing.

A lunch featuring Buffalo Burgers, Posole or Washtunkala stew is available. (Vegetarian option also available.) The cost for the Tesoro Cultural Center’s School Tour Program is a per person charge of $11. We offer one teacher free per each 20 students.

* Title 1 Schools: please inquire about our free lunch program.

Onsite trunk show prices are negotiable.

Teacher Testimonials

“This is the closest thing I have to the old west life up close – Thank You! The topics covered fit into our district curriculum extremely well.”

– Slavens K-8, Denver, CO

“We had a fabulous time! Our parent volunteers were thrilled with how much they learned. All of the students were engaged and learned so much!”

– Powderhorn Elementary, Littleton, CO

“We just began our study about the Spanish Explorers, so the program was a great kick-off to our unit. We look forward to seeing you next year!”

– Rooney Ranch Elementary, Lakewood, CO

“Great connection to what we teach in Colorado History.”

– Northeast Elementary, Parker, CO

“It reviewed what we learned in the classroom and added some great detail.”

– Shepherd of the Hills Christian School, Centennial, CO

“We had just finished studying the mountain men/fur trappers and Bent’s Fort. The tour was a perfect way for the students to “see” everything they have been reading about! It was a great day. We enjoyed our day at The Fort!”

– Marshdale Elementary, Evergreen, CO

“All the topics fit well into our study of mountain men & early Colorado history!”

– Wilmot Elementary, Evergreen, CO

To book a program or to volunteer with the Public Education Program, please call 303-839-1671 or via email at tesoroinfo@tesoroculturalcenter.org

Did you enjoy the Pumpkin Walnut Muffins during your educational tour of The Fort?
Find the recipe here!

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