The Cavalry Barracks
Fort Laramie Furnishing Study
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Operating Plan

1. Under maximum staffing levels in the summer, it might be possible to open much of the furnished portion of the building to direct visitor traffic, with an interpreter assigned to each major area. This would mean one interpreter on duty in the sleeping room, one in the dayroom, and one in the mess hail. Smaller rooms, and the actual bunk-area of the sleeping room could be simply roped off. Summer open hours would be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Maximum open hours without artificial light would be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Winter open hours would be much shorter in each instance.

2. Realistically, though, through most of the year, visitors will reach the building as part of a self-guided tour, supplemented by publications and one or more audio stations (part of the integrated audio system proposed by interpretive prospectus draft and the master plan). At such times of year, visitor access must be more limited. It is suggested that the visitor reach the sleeping room area via the main stairway, and view it from behind a four-foot high barrier of half-inch plexiglas enclosing a sizeable area at the head of the stairwell. Full doorway plexiglas panels can close off the arms room, library, and washroom at this season, with visitors entering the sparsely furnished dayroom to view this complex. A similar scheme for the rooms opening off the messroom would facilitate maximum viewing with minimum off-season staffing.

3. At the season when maximum staffing is available, it might be desirable for the interpreters stationed in sleeping room and dayroom to wear the c. 1876 undress—blue cavalry uniform, and for the man in the messroom area to be attired suitably for a man assigned to company cooking duty in that period. These interpreters would be specially briefed on their roles, and on the life of the enlisted soldier of the period.

4. Visitor safety and fire protection should be considered in regard to furnishings to insure adequate protection and yet prevent their intrusion on the re-established historic scene. In some instances handrails on stairways, additional strength in floors and porches to handle increased visitor loads, and lights in dark passageways may be needed. Any fire protection system, as well as any vandal detection system, should be well integrated into the furnishings. Fire suppression equipment is available.

After hours protection of this and other historic structures is provided by an on-site guard.

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Last Updated: 30-Nov-2009