Follow the Brigade to 1855: Annual Brigade Encampment happens at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum Aug. 12 and 13


brigadeFort Nisqually’s annual Brigade Encampment recreates the lively visit of a large group of fur traders (a brigade) to the fort in 1855. The event will take place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 13. Admission is $10-$15, ages 3 and younger are free. For more information, visit or call (253) 591-5339.

At noon each day, guests will witness the arrival of the fur trade brigade, led by bagpipers and welcomed by a volley of musket fire. Dr. Tolmie will greet booshway (head man) Angus MacDonald, supervisor of the independent trappers, with traditional toasts full of bravado and glad tidings. In the early afternoon, historical interpreters engage in a spirited “obstacle course” of 19th century skills such as fire starting and splitting shingles.

Throughout both days, families can participate in “Engagé for the Day,” visiting with living historians at their tents to learn heritage skills such as rope making, weaving, and woodcarving. Children can collect beads for each new skill and receive a contract from the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The entire family can try on period clothes, play popular games from the 19th century, and enjoy a traditional Punch and Judy puppet show, presented twice daily. Recognizing the many Hawaiians who worked and lived at Fort Nisqually in 1855, on Aug. 12 visitors will be treated to a dance performance by the Pacific Ohana Foundation and can explore the current exhibit “From the Islands to the Inland Sea: Hawaiians at Fort Nisqually.”

This fun and educational event is rooted in actual events of early life in Washington Territory. Once a year, the HBC collected all its furs from the region in one place, usually Fort Vancouver. In 1855, HBC traders were instructed to bring their goods to Fort Nisqually instead. Be a part of recreating history as we commemorate the 1855 fur brigade.

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost and headquarters of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. Visitors travel back in time and experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s. Nine buildings are open to the public, including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store.

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