Historic Trades Workshops

Volunteers practicing the art of tinsmithing
Volunteers practicing the art of tinsmithing

NPS Photo/Day

The Harpers Ferry Historical Association (HFHA), specially skill park rangers, and contractors offer workshops throughout the year that focus on 19th century trades. Workshops include baking, blacksmithing, sewing, and gardening.

Many of these workshops require pre-registration and payment with the HFHA. To register, call 304-535-6881 or visit the HFHA website.

War of 1812 Dress Making Workshop: 19th Century Patterns and Techniques for 21st Century Sewers
Three-day workshop | March 4-6, 2016 | Lower Town Train Station

Instructors: Katie Bopp and Diane Pry (Over 40 years of experience in making historic garments from the 1630s to the WW II era. They have provided period clothing for many museums and parks.)
Workshop Fee: $200.00 per person – Includes work dress pattern, twill tape for ties, fabric for fitting muslin and for lining, Saturday & Sunday lunch, and snacks. You will be purchasing fabric on your own/separately at an additional cost.
Registration closes on February 19, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 14 participants
Description: Attendees need to have both machine & hand-sewing experience and will likely go home on Sunday with a nearly completed gown. A pre-workshop welcome packet that describes supplies (such as a portable sewing machine and materials) that you will need to bring will be provided.


As American as Apple Pie: Organic Methods to Fight Climate Change
March 26, 2016 | 1:00pm to 4:00pm | Lower Town Roeder’s Confectionary & Bee Hive Oven

Instructors: Park Ranger Melinda Day and Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern
Workshop Fee: $50.00 per person (Minimum age to participate is 12 years old with a registered adult) Includes baking ingredients and instruction in oven management.
Registration closes on March 19, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 10 participants
Description: Step back in time and make pie the 1860 way with a wood or coal stove. Enjoy a slice of hot fruit pie that you have made. Learn how the diversity and nutritional value of American apples changed due to the town’s industrial revolution carbon footprint.


As American as Apple Pie: Organic Methods to Fight Climate Change
April 9, 2016 | 1:00pm to 4:00pm | Lower Town Roeder’s Confectionary & Bee Hive Oven

Instructors: Park Ranger Melinda Day and Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern
Workshop Fee: $50.00 per person (Minimum age to participate is 12 years old with a registered adult) Includes baking ingredients and instruction in oven management.
Registration closes on April 2, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 10 participants
Description: Step back in time and make pie the 1860 way with a wood or coal stove. Enjoy a slice of hot fruit pie that you have made. Learn how the diversity and nutritional value of American apples changed due to the town’s industrial revolution carbon footprint.


Feeding the War Machine: Soft Bread for Sheridan’s Army
May 7, 2016 | 11:00am – 4:00pm | Lower Town Backyards and Bee Hive Oven

Instructor: Park Ranger Melinda Day and Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern
Workshop Fee: $50.00 per person (Minimum age to participate is 18 years old) Includes bread baking ingredients and instruction & techniques for baking in a beehive oven.
Registration closes on April 30, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 10 participants per class
Description: Bread, called the “staff of Life”, was made by both civilian and military bakers in what was the United States Armory prior to the Civil War. Leaven soft bread, versus hard tack that looks like a large cracker or biscuit, was much welcomed addition to soldier’s rations. Participants will learn how to cultivate and grow yeast, make quick bread and hard tack, while learning to use the beehive oven.


The Art of the Forge: A Blacksmith Workshop
Two-day workshop | June 11-12, 2016 | 10:00am – 4:00pm | Blacksmith Shop on Shenandoah Street

Instructor: David Dufficy
Workshop Fee: $150.00 per person (Minimum age to participate is 18 years old) Includes materials, supplies and instruction.
Registration closes on June 4, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 6 participants
Description: In this two day workshop you will learn from a professional blacksmith the stock and trade of the early town’s craftsmen who took great pride on leaving their mark on the town’s industrial history story. Learn the difference between the forging process of everyday utilitarian items and craftsmen at the U.S. Armory, forging weapons for national defense.


America’s Picnic: Celebrating the Glorious 4th, 1860 – A Tavern Meal
July 2, 2016 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Roeder’s White Hall Tavern on Potomac Street

Instructor: Park Ranger Melinda Day and Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern
Workshop Fee: $30.00 per person. Includes meal and interpretation from park staff.
Registration closes on June 26, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 10 participants

Description: Enjoy a period tavern menu and 19th century history commentary describing the mindset of local people that polarized the nation on the eve of the Civil War.


“Whey to go” 19th Century Dairy, Cheese, and Butter Making
Two-day workshop | November 5-6, 2016 | 10:00am-5:00pm | Roeder’s Confectionary on High Street

Instructor: Carol Anderson
Workshop Fee: $200.00 per person. Includes ingredients for recipes and instruction of period recipes.
Registration closes on October 22, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 10 participants
Description: In this two day workshop you will learn the art, mystery, and science of 19th century dairy, using cheese baskets and molds to press cheese. The first day participants employ the basic method of making cheese curds to produce a hard cheese that will be pressed overnight and explore whey cheese or soft cheese. The second day you will learn about soft cheeses, whey covering , wrapping, and aging of hard along with curd use in period recipes.


"While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in Their Heads"
December 3 and 4, 2016 | First class each day: 11:00am to 1:00pm Second class each day: 2:00pm to 4:00pm | Roeder's Confectionery on High Street

Instructor: Carol Anderson
Workshop Fee: $25.00 per person (Children under 6 years old may attend for free with a registered adult) Includes supplies for candy recipes and instruction from a foodways expert.
Registration closes on November 26, 2016
Class Size: Limited to 4 participants per class
Description: A Victorian candy-making workshop. Learn the art and mystery of the confectioner’s Yuletide trade of making treats. Explore the world of sugar work and making of clear toy candy.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

Contact Us