On a crisp, clear October morning there is a special place in Fort Collins where you can see Auntie Stone sweeping leaves in front of her cabin to clear a path for her visitors. The town’s favorite schoolmarm sits outside her one-room schoolhouse looking over her notes and preparing for the day’s lesson. The distinguished tradesman Antoine Janis carries his two-man crosscut saw and axe and props them against his beloved cabin. Antoine sees the students approaching the Courtyard and in a welcoming voice exclaims, “Bonjour, mes amis!”
As we gather a hundred bustling second graders in the center of the Courtyard, I ask the students if they are ready to travel back in time with us…and that’s exactly what we do…
Fort Collins Through Time is an hour-long experience offered to school groups at the FCMoD’s Heritage Courtyard – a collection of four historic cabins located in Library Park next to the Community Creative Center. Students visit each of our four historic cabins while FCMoD volunteer docents articulate the story of each cabin and it’s influential inhabitants. Docents use a mixture of first-person and third-person narratives to engage with the students and emphasize how each cabin’s story adds an important piece to Fort Collins’ rich history.
The true magic happens at the Courtyard when our volunteer docents are all dressed in period-appropriate costumes and engaging visitors through interactive storytelling and hands-on artifact exploration. Three of our amazing volunteers – Cindy Tunney, Cathy Morrison, and Jeff Stone – have dedicated over 35 cumulative volunteer hours this fall at various courtyard programs including Fort Collins Through Time and a public program, Culture in the Courtyard. Each of them possess extensive knowledge of the cabins, they always come eager to “play their part” and they truly enjoy engaging with the community. So a huge THANK YOU to Cindy, Cathy, and Jeff! We couldn’t offer these transformative programs without them – our volunteers truly help the courtyard “come to life”!
Come meet Cindy, Cathy, and Jeff in person next Spring! More information on the Fort Collins Through Time school program can be found here. Also keep an eye on our Events Calendar for Culture in the Courtyard public programs next year!
Pictures courtesy of FC Public Media (Chris Winslow)