Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7673

 

June 14, 2002

SMU CELEBRATES FORT BURGWIN’S 150TH ANNIVERSARY

DALLAS (SMU) -- Fort Burgwin, near Taos, New Mexico, will step back in time on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, with a historical recreation of life in the fort circa the 1850s during an event celebrating its 150th anniversary. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors to this free event can wander among reenactors dressed in period costumes. The reenactors will interpret fort life in character as infantry, cavalry, civilian families and physicians, actually setting up camp on the fort grounds.

Established in 1852 as a cantonment, or temporary fort, Fort Burgwin is Southern Methodist University’s summer campus for more than 200 students taking courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences, performing and studio arts, and archaeological research. The fort has been an active archaeology site since 1957.

“This living history event celebrates the fort and its unique role in New Mexico history,” said Paula Martin, director of SMU-in-Taos. “It also gives us an opportunity to bring the Taos community together.”

Artifacts found at Fort Burgwin, including artillery, uniforms, medical supplies, domestic items and tack equipment, will be displayed and a current excavation site will be open for viewing.

SMU has excavated and rebuilt much of the fort to its original state, turning what were once barracks and quarters into classrooms, laboratories, a library and residences while recreating the original style of the fort. Roughly 40 percent of the fort has been excavated and four structures have been rebuilt.

SMU’s William P. Clements Fellow in Southwest Studies and historian Clive Siegle says the goal of the event is to give visitors an active and compelling glimpse of the past. “It isn't very often that one can experience artifacts that have only recently been uncovered after 150 years, and then the next minute turn around and see these same objects on walking, talking soldiers,” Siegle said.

Parking is free and concessions will be available. For further information, contact Paula Martin at 505-758-8322.


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