School Tour Details
The tour takes groups to eight different stations where they will meet costumed historical interpreters that will share the stories of the many different people who called Fort Snelling home.
- Schoolhouse: Students meet an interpreter dressed as a fur trader or voyageur who will share with them the story of the fort’s beginning: why this particular site was chosen, who were the people living in the area, and the reasons behind building the fort.
- Laundress Quarters: Students will learn about the important roles women played at the fort, especially the laundresses who kept the soldiers’ clothing clean and mended.
- Hospital: Everyone gets sick, so the next stop is to the Hospital where students will learn about medicine in the army during the 1820s and 1830s, and might even be able to take part in a demonstration of period medical practices.
- Commandant’s House: In this special station students will meet a History Player, an interpreter portraying either the Colonel or Mrs. Snelling, and will speak with the class as though they really were from history. Students will be able to hear about life in the fort from the point of view of the historical person.
- Parade: A fort needs soldiers, and in this station students will be formed up in a company and will practice marching with an interpreter dressed as a soldier. To conclude the demonstration the interpreter will show the class how to load and fire a flintlock musket.
- Kitchen: To modern people cooking over a hearth is old-fashioned, but it was the height of technology during the 1820s. In this station an interpreter will share the many innovations the Snellings had in their kitchen, which made it very high-tech for the time. Students will also learn about the slaves bought by the Snellings who were made to cook and clean for them without the chance of their own freedom.
- Dred Scott’s Quarters: In what can be called the most important room in the fort, an interpreter shares the story of Dred and Harriet Scott, two of the many slaves at Fort Snelling. The Scotts went down in history by fighting for their freedom in the Supreme Court, which resulted in a decision that helped push the country toward the Civil War.
- Blacksmith Shop: A real working blacksmith shop completes the tour where students will visit with an interpreter working the forge and who will inform the class about the importance of skilled workers in the fort’s shops. The blacksmith will even make each class a special gift to take back to school with them!
After your tour, feel free to continue your visit by climbing the Round Tower, the oldest standing structure in Minnesota, visiting the Guardhouse, Minnesota’s first jail, or watch History Under the Floorboards, a multi-media presentation where students will learn about the importance of archeology to discovering the hidden history of Fort Snelling.