Living History Event Weekends

Artillery crew firing a cannon at Bolivar Heights Battlefield
Artillery crew firing a cannon at Bolivar Heights Battlefield

NPS Photo/Volunteer Alexandra Harvey

 

2017 Living History Event Weekends

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President Washington's Birthday: Of the American System of Manufacturing at Harpers Ferry

Date: February 18
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Confectionery Exhibit
Description: Join living history park rangers and volunteers to recognize the father of our country, President George Washington's, birthday. Experience a mid-19th century holiday when locals celebrated the town's significance that had grown around Washington's "Mother Arsenal," the U.S. Armory, which supplied the country with weapons for national defense. Fifty years after the factory's birth, the town citizens continued to celebrate Washington, who created local jobs for gunsmiths and mechanics. Following John Brown's Raid in 1859, the slave-holding south was "armed to the teeth" and ready to defend against further attacks. Included in those armed and ready were the armory workers of Harpers Ferry, who formed slave patrols and carried armory-made weapons.

Necessity: The Mother of Invention
Date: March 25-26
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: A Women's History Month event featuring stories of the town's industrial history. Meet Harpers Ferry's industrial workers and citizens at special exhibits featuring the technological advances in 19th century clothing, health, food preservation, and arms production.

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

A historic bread and baked goods sale, in partnership with the Harpers Ferry Park Association.
Date: April 8
Time: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Masonry Bee Hive Oven behind White Hall Tavern
Description: Bread, called the "staff of life," was made locally by bakers and confectioners, like German immigrant Frederick Roeder. Visitors are welcome to purchase, while supplies last, fresh baked sour dough, leaven rolls or street corner food, and large soft pretzels that will be baked in a large masonry "bee hive oven."

The Enemy Among Us: Defending Harpers Ferry During the War of 1812
Date: April 22-23
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Lower Town, Harper House
Description: Visit a Living History 1812 military recruitment station at the town's oldest structure. See how the town's citizens react to the British invasion and the response by the armory workers.

City Farming: Food in the Backyard
In partnership with the Harpers Ferry Park Association.
Date: May 20-21
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Lower Town
Description: Purchase heirloom vegetables and seeds from the Bookshop to start your own kitchen garden. See dung hill fowl in action. This program offers 19th century examples of organic foods that can help mitigate climate change with little need of fossil fuels to grow, fertilize, kill pests, and transport to market.

Defend and Protect: Arming America's Soldiers
Date: May 27-28
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town

Description: Special exhibits and programs will highlight the technology and invention of the Harpers Ferry Armory and how the weapons made there were used by soldiers for national defense and exploration. See this armory town come to life as living history volunteers present the story of Harpers Ferry and the Industrial Revolution through historic weapons firing demonstrations and special activities

Guard House, 1864
Date: June 17-18
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, John Brown's Fort
Description: Learn how civilians and Civil War soldiers found themselves on the wrong side of martial law in 1864.

Under Fire: Hold the High Ground, 1862

Date: June 24-25
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; firing demonstrations at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.
Location: Bolivar Heights Battlefield
Description: Artillery crew demonstrate the might and intimidation of field artillery during the town's surrender to Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson.

Medical Weekend: Giving Aid and Comfort
Date: July 15-16
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: Living history volunteers and park staff will portray the medical and relief efforts that provided aid and comfort to thousands of Civil War soldiers. The outpouring of funds and care was so vast that the relief effort was described as "an artery of the people's love to the people's army."

"I Will Follow Them to the Death": Sheridan's Soldiers, 1864
Date: July 22-23
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: See Harpers Ferry as the staging ground for Union General Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign during the summer of 1864. Members of the 13th New Jersey living history group will demonstrate Union Army garrison duties such as guard mount parade, searching for and arresting spies, deserters, and traitors, processing prisoners of war, searching citizens, and maintaining military security in an occupied enemy town. Costumed volunteers and staff will interpret civilian life under harsh military rule.

Under Fire: Hold the High Ground, 1862
Date: July 29-30
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; firing demonstrations at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.
Location: Bolivar Heights Battlefield
Description: Artillery crew demonstrate the might and intimidation of field artillery during the town's surrender to Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson.

 
signs that reads "Guard House" atop a barrel in front of a brick building
Guard House at John Brown's Fort

NPS Photo/Autumn Cook

Under Fire: Hold the High Ground, 1862
Date: August 5-6
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; firing demonstrations at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.
Location: Bolivar Heights Battlefield
Description: Artillery crew demonstrate the might and intimidation of field artillery during the town's surrender to Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson.

The Enemy Among Us: Defending Harpers Ferry During the War of 1812
Date: August 12-13
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Harper House
Description: Visit a Living History 1812 military recruitment station at the town's oldest structure. See how the town's citizens react to the British invasion and the response by the armory workers.

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"
A historic bread and baked goods sale, in partnership with the Harpers Ferry Park Association.
Date: August 26-27
Time: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Masonry Bee Hive Oven behind White Hall Tavern
Description: Bread, called the "staff of life," was made locally by bakers and confectioners, like German immigrant Frederick Roeder. Visitors are welcome to purchase, while supplies last, fresh baked sour dough, leaven rolls or street corner food, and large soft pretzels that will be baked in a large masonry "bee hive oven."

Lives in Limbo: Contraband Camp in the Shadow of John Brown's Fort
Date: September 23-24
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: Runaway slaves who came into Union lines were called contraband, or enemy property confiscated by the Union Army. Step back to the tense times when the lives of these freedom seekers were in limbo.

The Enemy Among Us: Defending Harpers Ferry During the War of 1812
Date: September 30 - October 1
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Harper House
Description: Visit a Living History 1812 military recruitment station at the town's oldest structure. See how the town's citizens react to the British invasion and the response by the armory workers.

Reacting to the Raid: Local Militia and the US Marines
Date: October 14-15
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Lower Town, John Brown's Fort
Description: John Brown attacked Harpers Ferry on October 16 and was captured two days later by the US Marines. Volunteers of the USMC Historical Company relive the scene and the all-important reactions to the raid.

Drink Your Apples: Roeder's Tavern Cider Making, 1860
Date: October 21-22
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Lower Town, Roeder's Confectionery and White Hall Tavern
Description: Join living history staff and volunteers to make cider at White Hall Tavern on Potomac Street. This time-honored tradition produced the most popular 19th century beverage for man, woman, and child.

Under Fire: Hold the High Ground, 1862
Date: October 28-29
Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm; firing demonstrations at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.
Location: Bolivar Heights Battlefield
Description: Artillery crew demonstrate the might and intimidation of field artillery during the town's surrender to Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson.

Captain Flagg's US Quartermaster City, 1864: Prospects of Peace
Date: December 2-3
Time: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: Experience this yuletide event from the war that determined the union of the states and the eventual freedom of four million enslaved people.
 
view of a crowd attending a program, out of focus, as seen between shoulders of two women in Civil War attire

NPS Photo/Autumn Cook

Last updated: March 15, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65
485 Fillmore St.

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

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