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Trade in the Spotlight

September 1, 2014


New Fort Nisqually Event Highlights Trade Traditions

A new event at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum highlights the Fort’s trading history to make connections to the modern barter movement.

“Fair Tradin’ Past to Present” September 13, 11 am-5 pm. Admission is $5-$8, ages four and younger are free. Guests are also encouraged to bring one or two non-perishable items for local food banks.

“Many people hear “Fort” and think military,” said event coordinator Chris Erlich, “but this was never a military fort. It was a trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company.”

Guests can see the types of goods that were at the center of HBC’s trade in the Fort’s Sale Shop — fair tradin imagebeads, blankets, tobacco, pots and pans, coffee, ceramics, clothing, and much more.

Throughout the day, kids will have a chance to practice their own bartering skills. They can search for “beaver pelts” hidden in the Fort and exchange them for marbles or beads.

At noon, guests can watch the Fort’s re-enactors at a blanket barter, exchanging equipment and period goods among themselves. This activity was a common historical occurrence at major gathering.

At 2 pm, “Fair Tradin’” the Fort’s program partner for this event, will host a modern barter. "Fair Tradin' is Pierce County's homegrown barter community. The group’s mission is to support the growth of local food, skills, and crafts. It seeks to encourage neighbors to enrich their lives while building community through barter, education, and skill sharing.

Any individuals with handmade or home grown goods are invited to participate in the modern barter (no commercial businesses, and no exchanges for money in any form please).

For more information, visit the Fair Tradin’s Facebook page: Facebook.comFairTradin. Space is limited, and pre-registration is encouraged but not required. The registration link can be found on the Facebook page.

Special talks and presentations throughout the day will give examples and information about the evolution of trade at the Fort. In the 1830s, the Fort was exchanging guns, blankets, beads and other items for fur brought in by Native Americans.

By the 1850s, the majority of the trade was with American settlers in the region. There will also be a discussion about the many forms of the modern barter movement and its roots in history.


Fort Nisqually LogoFort Nisqually Living History Museum
in Point  Defiance Park
5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98407