Hosted By

Santa Fe Trail Association

Bent’s Old Fort NHS

Otero Junior College

City of La Junta

Koshare Indian Museum




The 2021 Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Symposium

Bent’s Fort Chapter Event

La Junta, Colorado

September 23-26, 2021

The Santa Fe Trail Lives On:

200 Years of Commerce & Cultural Connections

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Bents Fort Chapter Home

Call for

Historical Interpreters

The deadline for submissions has passed. The interpreter requirements are still posted below so you may judge the types and quality of the historical interpreters who will be taking part in the Symposium

2021 Santa Fé Trail Bicentennial Symposium and the 35th Anniversary Commemoration of the Santa Fé Trail Association


“The Santa Fé Trail Lives On”:  200 Years of Commerce and Cultural Connections


Application Requirements for

Living Historians/Demonstrators/Camps @

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, La Junta, Colorado


The Mission of the 2021 Santa Fé Trail Bicentennial Symposium:  

The Santa Fé Trail Bicentennial is a commemoration of a living part of the American Experience.  The Trail remains crucial to American History in its many forms:  connecting people in commerce, conflict and culture.  The Bicentennial creates opportunities for education, awareness, and exploration of countless facets of the American Experience past, present, and future.


The Organizing Committee for the 2021 Santa Fé Trail Bicentennial Symposium is seeking the best qualified Living History Interpreters and Demonstrators to educate Symposium attendees and the visiting public on the activities and lifestyle of those who would have been involved with the business and events on the Santa Fé Trail throughout its history but concentrating specifically on the contributions of Bent, St. Vrain & Company (1833-1849).  All individuals selected for this by-invitation-only event will contribute to the Symposium in First Person interactions in a Public History context, with each other for the benefit of Symposium attendees, the visiting public, and which will meet the needs of the Symposium. The Committee is recruiting persons who are able to perform in this role.  This is not the place for persons still learning the craft of Historical First Person Interpretation.  If you are not an accomplished interpreter with substantial training and experience, you are asked to not apply at this time.  Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site has annual training opportunities that can prepare you for this role in the future, however see #5 below for information on special Novice opportunities during this event.


In order to demonstrate the lifestyle found on the Santa Fé Trail and at Bent’s Fort during the year 1843, the committee is seeking applications from the best Indian, laborers/herders, fort and camp traders, domestic workers, period craftsmen, clerks/owners, doctor, hunter/trappers, teamsters, trail travelers of the time and place, and military interpreters and demonstrators who will enhance the experience presented at this Symposium. By necessity, there will be a limited number of spaces available in each role. Specifically the committee is seeking living history interpreters for the following roles:


















The open positions can be filled by any type of interpreter role for which there is justification for being present at Bent’s Fort or on the Santa Fe Trail in 1843. A couple of examples might include male/female Native Americans, and Charles Warfield, Jacob Snively and Texian volunteers. Background Information for 1843 can be found here.


There may also be limited opportunities to present a developed informal talk and/or demonstration throughout the Symposium on the park site.


_____________________________________________________________________________________

In order to insure that the most qualified, the “best of the best” Living Historians/Demonstrators are selected as contributors to the Symposium based on established standards, their qualifications and their willingness to provide programs; all who would like to be considered will need to fulfill at least one of the following requirements:


1.  Attend a Living History Education Encampment held at Bent’s Fort NHS during the first week of June of odd-numbered years and then send in a portfolio and a letter of interest and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus.

OR

2.  Send in a portfolio, have attended and was evaluated at two other Bent's Old Fort living history events between now and the end of June 2021 and then send in a letter of interest and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus
OR

3.  Have had sent in a portfolio for the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium and was successfully vetted and participated during that Symposium and then send in a letter of interest, and any updates on the portfolio which was sent in 2015 and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus.

OR

  1. Have attended first person Living History programming at a site or event recognized for superior programming and then send in a portfolio to be juried as representing the needs of the event and the high quality and the focus of the symposium.  Include, in this portfolio, the names and contact information of person(s) who can attest to your experiences at other sites or events.

OR

  1. Special application for Novices. A few positions will be filled for the program by interpreters who are just starting their journey in the field. Each applicant must be sponsored by three experienced First Person Historic Interpreters from different historic sites and  from different historic roles, with emphasis being given to past activities that reflect the potential of the applicant,  work the applicant has done to begin a First Person interpretation, and a letter from the applicant illustrating why they are interested in participating in the symposium and what they hope to contribute, gain, and pass on to other to perpetuate the history of the Santa Fe Trail. All other application requirements will apply.



All portfolios to be vetted for the 2021 event must include, at least:

A. The historic documentation of role-specific materials, historic clothing, and accouterments you will be

      using and a bibliography of resources used to develop and document that clothing, gear and

      accouterments.


B.  A series of images (photographs or DVD) that illustrate past programming showing you as an

      interpreter in the clothing, with the gear and accouterments described in #1 above.


C.  A brief interpretive outline of the historic presentation that will be offered for the enhancement of a

      Symposium centered on the Santa Fé Trail.


Simply put, explain to the Committee how you are able to make this Symposium a better event by    

what you offer.

D.  Please include a list of relevant site and/or events where you have worked and/or volunteered, and  

    any works on related topics you have had published and any professional organizations of which you

     are a member.


































________________________________________________________________________________

In order to insure that the most qualified, the “best of the best” Living Historians/Demonstrators are selected as contributors to the Symposium based on established standards, their qualifications and their willingness to provide programs; all who would like to be considered will need to fulfill at least one of the following requirements:


1.  Attend a Living History Education Encampment held at Bent’s Fort NHS during the first week of June of odd-numbered years and then send in a portfolio and a letter of interest and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus.

OR

2.  Send in a portfolio, have attended and was evaluated at two other Bent's Old Fort living history events between now and the end of June 2021 and then send in a letter of interest and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus
OR

3.  Have had sent in a portfolio for the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium and was successfully vetted and participated during that Symposium and then send in a letter of interest, and any updates on the portfolio which was sent in 2015 and be juried as to represent the highest quality and focus.

OR

  1. Have attended first person Living History programming at a site or event recognized for superior programming and then send in a portfolio to be juried as representing the needs of the event and the high quality and the focus of the symposium.  Include, in this portfolio, the names and contact information of person(s) who can attest to your experiences at other sites or events.

OR

  1. Special application for Novices. A few positions will be filled for the program by interpreters who are just starting their journey in the field. Each applicant must be sponsored by three experienced First Person Historic Interpreters from different historic sites and  from different historic roles, with emphasis being given to past activities that reflect the potential of the applicant,  work the applicant has done to begin a First Person interpretation, and a letter from the applicant illustrating why they are interested in participating in the symposium and what they hope to contribute, gain, and pass on to other to perpetuate the history of the Santa Fe Trail. All other application requirements will apply.



All portfolios to be vetted for the 2021 event must include, at least:

A. The historic documentation of role-specific materials, historic clothing, and accouterments you will be

      using and a bibliography of resources used to develop and document that clothing, gear and

      accouterments.


B.  A series of images (photographs or DVD) that illustrate past programming showing you as an

      interpreter in the clothing, with the gear and accouterments described in #1 above.


C.  A brief interpretive outline of the historic presentation that will be offered for the enhancement of a

      Symposium centered on the Santa Fé Trail.


Simply put, explain to the Committee how you are able to make this Symposium a better event by    

what you offer.

D.  Please include a list of relevant site and/or events where you have worked and/or volunteered, and  

    any works on related topics you have had published and any professional organizations of which you

     are a member.


These portfolios shall be sent by mail to:       


2021 Santa Fé Trail Bicentennial Symposium      

Living History Committee

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

35110 Highway 194 East

La Junta, Colorado  81050


Or by email to: [email protected]


The Symposium’s Criteria Committee shall have said portfolio and/or letters of interest on or before 1 January 2021.


Once selected, a Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement will be sent to you which must be signed and returned PRIOR TO 15 March 2021.  


Those persons whose portfolios have been accepted and have returned their Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement will receive a formal invitation as a gratis attendee of the 2021 Santa Fé Trail Symposium by 15 April 2021.   


Requests for further information, questions or concerns may directed to John M. Carson @ 719-383-5026, at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site   35110 Highway 194 East   La Junta, Colorado  81050   or   by email to:   [email protected] Or after the First of October, 2018, please visit the 2021 Santa Fe Trail’s Bicentennial Symposium’s website.

6-Herders/Laborers/Teamsters

6-Fort and Camp Traders

6-Domestics

5-Craftsmen (Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Gunsmiths, Taylors)

5&5-Hunters and Trappers

4-Clerks/Factor

4-Trail Travelers

1-Doctor

7-Open Positions