Living History Experience
at The Fort
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
11:00am to 3:00pm
Open to the Public!
Children 12 and Under: Free
Food Trucks Will Be Onsite (The Fort Serves
Using The Fort’s historic adobe structure as our primary teaching tool, Tesoro Cultural Center now expands its educational programming to include 20 summer weekends of historic immersion and family fun. Join us for shopping, art, music, historic demonstrations, family-friendly activities, and more!
- The Front Gate. For the first time since its debut in 1963, the front gate of The Fort will open to the public during daytime hours, revealing an engaging and immersive experience. Visitors learn about Bent’s Old Fort and the cultural diversity that inspired the Arnold Family to build The Fort, including its authentic adobe construction, the rooms and artifacts, and Sissy Bear.
- The Courtyard. The Fort’s courtyard will host cultural activities and Mountain Men – trappers, traders, blacksmiths – demonstrating the crafts and skills necessary to survive during the Fur Trade era, as well as educating visitors on where and how they lived, and the equipment, tools and weapons they carried and used.
- Fort Trade Lodge. Housed in a replica of George Washington’s campaign tent, the Fort Trade Lodge features award-winning Indian, Spanish Colonial, and Western artists. Each weekend two to four selected artists will display, sell and demonstrate their work.
- Tipi. Representing the Plains Indians of early Colorado, the tipi “theater” loops continuous showings of Tesoro’s three educational short films (Early Spanish Settlers of Colorado, The Utes, and The Kiowa People). Additionally, historical objects, primary sources, hands-on activities, and more, create engaging learning opportunities for all.
- The Horno Oven. The horno is a traditional beehive shaped adobe oven introduced by early Spanish peoples of the region. Used mostly for baking and roasting, a fire was built inside allowing the thick adobe chamber to absorb heat.
- Bent’s Quarters. This room creates much of the feel of the 1840s trade room, with its medicinal herb collection and various trade items, including beads, buttons, china, calico, tobacco twists, sugar cones and tea bricks.
- St. Vrain Bar. Set in a niche in the wall is an adobe brick from the original Bent’s Fort in 1834. A large portrait of Ceran St. Vrain, partner of the Bents, hangs on the north wall. Beneath the wood planking on the floor lies the original ox blood-treated adobe floor in the style of old New Mexico.
- St. Vrain Council Room. Historically, it was common for the terms of a trade to be discussed and agreed upon in the council room, also used for peace talks between warring Indian tribes. On the walls, portraits of individuals who are significant to the history of Bent’s Fort help tell the story. These include brothers William and Charles Bent, Ceran St. Vrain, Owl Woman, Charlotte Green, Jim Beckwourth, Susan Shelby Magoffin, Kit Carson and his third wife, Josefa Jaramillo.