Goals of the Blacksmith Shop Operation
The goals of the blacksmith shop operation are to:
- help visitors understand the people and function of the fort's Blacksmith Shop, and its connection to the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver;
- help visitors develop a personal understanding of the national significance of the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver; and to
- help foster an understanding of this national park as a unit of the national park system and a public resource worth preserving in perpetuity.
In the Blacksmith Shop, we strive to achieve these goals by helping the visitor understand the roles of the fort's skilled laborers, the work they performed, and how their work contributed to the operation of Fort Vancouver and the HBC in the Pacific Northwest.
More specifically, we provide the visitor with an understanding of nineteenth century British blacksmithing skills (circa 1825-1846) as practiced by the Hudson's Bay Company and the importance of the blacksmith in the industrialization of the Pacific Northwest.
Volunteers are absolutely essential to the visitor experience at the Blacksmith Shop. It is through volunteer interpretive presentations, cultural demonstrations, and living history activities that visitors experience accurate interpretive services on a regular, on-going basis.
To ensure that visitors are best able to connect to the site and its significance, a Blacksmith Shop Apprentice Program is under development, through the collaboration of park staff and Blacksmith Shop volunteers working through the Trades Guild. This program defines specific competencies and requirements to ensure a safe, valid, accurate, and in-depth visitor experience.
To help make the visitor experience as accurate as possible, all shop work is to be focused solely on activities conducted by the Blacksmiths working in the shop on the behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company during the fur trade era. Any activity that departs from a representation of the shop activities detracts from this focus and is not allowed. If volunteers have a question about the appropriateness of an activity, please contact a Volunteer Certified Trainer or an NPS staff member.
Blacksmith Shop volunteers can review approved projects in the Blacksmith projects manuals located in the cabinet in the southwest corner of the shop.