Living History: The Garrison

Living History volunteers are organized into two groups: The Garrison and La Gente. 

 The Garrison

The Tucson Presidio Garrison portrays soldiers of the Spanish Colonial frontier at the Presidio. These men were volunteers who chose life in the army. The frontier was difficult, but it offered the opportunity for social advancement. The troops were diverse, with Mexicans, Indians, Irish, Italians, blacks, and mixed races making up the frontier Army. Their tasks were many and varied. They campaigned, escorted supplies, carried the mail and successfully spread the doctrine of the King of Spain. The Garrison interpreters bring the walls of the presidio alive with cannon fire and military drill.

The Garrison soldiers are some of  the best ambassadors of the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation. The "soldados" are uniformed as the Spanish forces assigned to the area of present day Arizona. Dressed as the Catalonian Volunteers, Dragoons of Spain, or as Presidio soldados, the group interprets life at the presidio. Support is provided to the Garrison by The Leather Factory and

 Jobs for The Garrison include:

  • Cannon drill
  • Demonstrating soldier life



Volunteers perform the work of soldiers at the Presidio. Musketry, and cannon firing are performed.



Making the Commitment

Volunteers must commit to one Saturday a month from five to ten hours. “Living History” days are currently the second Saturday of each month, but another Saturday each month may be added.

The majority of Living History demonstrations are presented at stations that are outdoors.  Tasks are performed in a variety of weather conditions. Much like our ancestors, volunteers experience beautiful Sonoran desert days, along with a few hot ones and the occasional monsoon!

Occasionally volunteers support other organization functions and City of Tucson functions by attending and assisting with different events.

Parking is free on Saturdays. During the week volunteers may have to pay for street parking.  Lunch is always provided for volunteers.

E-mail Gerry Lawford at


Click here for our Volunteer Interpreter's Guide to Spanish Colonial Costumes.