When you visit a historical site, whether a courthouse, military barracks, battlefield, mansion or ruined house, how do you really understand the drama, passions, triumphs and tragedies that occurred there? Signs can give you historical context and information. Interpreters can add details, and can answer individual questions. But nothing brings the place or event alive as much as a Historical Re-Enactor.
These volunteers have not only researched the time period, but also specifics about the role or actual person that they portray. They have spent countless dollars outfitting themselves with authentic garb and authentic “props,” such as cooking utensils, firearms, even the correct petticoats! Some re-enactors are so skilled that they are able to portray specific people from history in the first person.
This form of interpretation is invaluable to Arizona State Parks and Trails. Engaging all the senses of our visitors — smelling the gunpowder or delicious aromas from cooking fires, seeing the bright colors of traditional dress, feeling the coarseness of wool uniforms, hearing the booms of cannons, and even tasting hard tack — is the best way to not only teach them about history, but to make them care. Creating a whole experience for our visitors will bring them back, and have them telling their friends and neighbors about how great their visit to an Arizona state park was.
Park Specific Opportunities
Specific parks have need and often use the help of volunteer re-enactors. Follow the links for the parks listed below to learn more about volunteer positions at each park. Contact the volunteer coordinator with any questions, concerns, or ideas. Volunteers are required to read and follow the Re-Enactor Event Guidelines at all times.
Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
Fort Verde State Historic Park
Jerome State Historic Park
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
Picacho Peak State Park
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
The parks below occasionally utilize re-enactors:
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
McFarland State Historic Park
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
Civil War in the Southwest Historical Guidelines
We are working to ensure historical authenticity during our annual Civil War in the Southwest event at Picacho Peak State Park. To aid re-enactors we've assembled information regarding Clothing Guidelines, Artillery Guidelines, and Battle Weapon Guidelines.
See Clothing Guidelines
See Artillery Guidelines
See Battle Weapon Guidelines
See Cavalry Guidelines
Re-Enactor Event Regulations
For the safety of our visitors and the interpretive authenticity of the event, re-enactors are required to adhere to the following regulations. You may also download re-enactor event regulations ( 163 KB PDF) Note: Regulations revised 12/01/2009, please review.
Authenticity and General Code of Conduct:
- All participants will remain in historical dress of the appropriate time period during event hours.
- All persons (except spectators) in camp during event hours are required to be in historical dress of the appropriate time period. We highly encourage your family and friends to join you, but they must either be correctly dressed or remain out of your encampment/display area during public hours.
- All tack shall be of period design and in good condition.
- All "battle" participates must be "attached" to a registered, coordinating unit. No "unattached” person(s) or group(s) allowed. Individual re-enactors will be assigned to a unit by Re-enactor Headquarters Commander.
- Modern accoutrements (pop cans, plastic ware, coolers, etc.) are not allowed to be in view during event hours.
- Alcohol consumption is not allowed on the premises during event hours.
- Anyone acting in an unsafe, disorderly, or uncooperative manner will immediately be asked to leave and/or face legal charges.
- Arizona State Parks and Trails is not responsible for your personal items. Arrangements can be made to secure valuables at night if needed.
- While camping at an historical site, please take special care of site features. Tampering, climbing upon or destroying property is not allowed and may be cause for removal from the property and/or legal charges.
- All fires must be extinguished before breaking camp.
- All motorized vehicles must be removed from the encampment area during event hours. (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.). The Park Manager can make exceptions, for those with special needs.
- In accordance with Arizona State Park Policy & Procedures, quiet hours will be observed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- All Unit Leaders and NCO’s will have a copy of the above regulations on their person at all times.
- Any violations of the above regulations should be reported immediately to the park staff or the Re-enactor Headquarters Commander and appropriate action will be taken.
- Live ammunition is not allowed on the park.
- During battle, gunpowder will be carried as pre-rolled cartridges only (no penny wrappers, staples, glue taps, aluminum foil [except for artillery rounds] or waxed cartridges).
- Firearms will remain unloaded except for battles or firing demonstrations.
- Firearms are to be clean before any shooting of blanks.
- Firearms will be discharged only during event hours, in pre-determined demonstration areas, or during battles, always in a safe direction and manner.
- Artillery should be discharged in at least three-minute intervals between firing.
- Metallic blanks will be allowed for demonstrations.
- Any bladed weapon should be carried safely.
- Firearms may only be discharged by persons 16 years of age or older.
- Volunteers between the ages of 16 and 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times when discharging firearms.
- Volunteers under the age of 16 may carry or drill with an unloaded firearm.
- No bayonets fixed in "battles". They can be used to stack arms or drill.
- No hand to hand combat at any time.
- The use of shotguns and other muzzle loading weapons is permitted, but only with 60 grain
charges. No wads will be used, and no ramrods will be drawn, except by NCO’s/Officers.
- Cannon-ramrods are permitted, as well as foil for cannon-chargers.
- The use of "wonder wads" is prohibited. Cream of Wheat, dry, shall be used as wadding.
- No loading directly from flasks or bulk powder containers which can explode from spark in bore, except for revolvers.
- Knives are not allowed for mounted troops. Bayonets or knives carried by infantry will be sheathed during "battle(s)". Exceptions to this rule are swords of Officers or Cavalry.
- No "capturing" or removal of flags, guns, or other property from control of owner, except during planned "battle" scenarios.
- No aiming directly at anyone at any distance; aim to the side.
- No swinging muskets, flag staffs, or swords at "opponents", except for the rehearsed use of sabers between Cavalry.
- Shooting is not allowed in the camps with the exception of an area set aside especially for the purpose of demonstration and weapons clearing.
- No weapons discharged after 6 p.m. on Friday or Saturday.
- No throwing "grenades", explosives, or smoke devices of any type.
- Sabers shall be drawn only on command. During saber fights, the tip of the saber shall be up at all times.
- A Provost Marshall and/or a park ranger will check all weapons upon arrival and check-in at the park.
- A Provost Marshall and/or a park ranger may conduct random checks of camps and weaponry throughout the event.
- Livestock is allowed only if required for historical re-enactments.
- Control of livestock is the responsibility of the re-enactor(s) and all precautions must be taken for the safety of others.
- Care of livestock is the responsibility of the re-enactor(s).
- No firing at less than 50 feet between "opponents." Cavalry charges on infantry shall not come closer than 50 feet at a trot.
- Horses and mules will be kept at a walk while passing through camps or public areas. Horses will not be tied up in individual camps. Horses will be tied to the picket line provided in the Cavalry area.
- Riding animals after dark is strictly prohibited, except when carrying out duties assigned by the company commander.
- The running of horses or making wild passes close to or along the front of spectator lines is strictly prohibited.
- Racing of animals is prohibited. Anyone attempting to conduct a horse race will be expelled from the event. Violation of this rule also carries the possible consequence of facing official charges.
Arizona State Park Volunteer Re-enactor:
- Arizona State Parks and Trails will provide the volunteer with pertinent Arizona State Parks and Trails information and policies. The volunteer agrees to abide by all such policies.
- The volunteer understands the s/he is working at all times on a voluntary basis without compensation and not as a state employee and is not covered by the state’s workers compensation plan.
- The volunteer understands that s/he will be working directly under the supervision of an assigned park staff member.
- Arizona State Parks and Trails staff may photograph volunteer during an event for park historic value, or the ability to advertise future events. By signing as a volunteer for Arizona State Parks and Trails, you give permission to use any photographs taken while you are volunteering.
- This agreement can be cancelled at any time by either the volunteer or Arizona State Parks and Trails.