Off-Site Demonstrations and Presentations

At the Presidio Museum, visitors get a glimpse of what life in the Presidio was like for soldiers and other residents through docent tours and living history activities.  We can also bring this experience to you! At off-site venues, Presidio Museum representatives can  recreate aspects of Presidio life through the following programs:


Cochineal Demonstration



Cochineal (Red Dye) Demonstration:

The Spanish discovered a unique way of making red dye in the new world.  Cochineal (the white fuzzy stuff often seen on prickly pear cacti) is a bug that can be scraped off the pads, ground up using a metate, and made into red dye. During the Presidio Era, this was an important Spanish export.  Participants in this demonstration will see the red dye made out of Cochineal and will then be able to decorate a bookmark with the cochineal dye to take home as a souvenir.




Metal décor was an important aspect of Presidio living.  The easiest way to customize one’s metal was through “punching tin,” a method of using a nail or other sharp object to punch holes in the tin to create a design or picture.  The tin would then be used as a decoration on its own or affixed to an item to customize it.  Many times luminarias were (and still are) made this way. Participants in this activity will use nails and small hammers to punch pieces of tin, creating a hanging ornament.




Soldier DrillsSoldier Demonstrations

Soldiers are what most people think of when thinking of life in a fort.  Participants in this activity can try on a “cuera,” (a vest made of leather, which was the armor of the day) and learn Spanish military commands as they go through soldier drills.


Historic Hats

This traveling hat trunk program brings the Presidio and Tucson’s history to you!  As each hat is taken from the trunk, the group discusses who wore the hats, what their daily tasks would have been and how their job was important to the community as a whole. The program is designed to encourage participants’ interest in and knowledge of Tucson’s history. The hats serve as a way to discuss the experiences and challenges of those individuals who helped build our community. 

These programs last approximately two hours and are available based on staff availability at a cost of $250 each.
  The cost of a longer presentation can be negotiated. For more information or to book a program, contact April Bourie, Presidio Museum Marketing & Sales Director, 520-444-3687,