PRESCOTT - The Sharlot Hall Museum will bring 1864 Prescott back to life this weekend to celebrate the city's sesquicentennial.
Two short blocks west from the festivities on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, the museum campus will be bustling with period re-enactors and demonstrations all weekend.
"If you want to celebrate history, nobody does it better than the Sharlot Hall Museum," Sharlot Hall Museum Interim Director Fred Veil said.
The museum is waiving its entrance fees all weekend.
The museum campus is home to the only two buildings that have survived 150 years in Prescott: the territorial governor's mansion and Fort Misery.
"While there's going to be a lot of entertainment in all the venues, the essence of the weekend is recognizing the founding of Prescott," Veil noted. "And there's no better place to celebrate that than the Sharlot Hall Museum."
Weekend highlights at the museum include a re-enactment of the meeting at Fort Misery on May 30, 1864 when residents chose Prescott as the name for Arizona's new territorial capital. That re-enactment takes place at 1:50 p.m. Saturday at Fort Misery (which was moved from its original location near what is now the Mile High Middle School).
Re-enactors throughout the museum campus will gather for the community meeting, as well as 15 equestrians who are riding their horses from Del Rio Springs to Prescott. Del Rio was the site of the temporary territorial capital before it moved to Prescott.
Another highlight will be the hour-long 19th Century fashion show at 11 a.m. Saturday. Museum board member Jennifer Bartos and other volunteers have spent months creating 19 historically accurate costumes for men, women and children to model. They include a Civil War nurse, local judge, a Fort Whipple doctor, a ranch wife and a cook.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, re-enactors will be showing the public how people lived in 1864 Prescott, from a military camp at Fort Whipple to cooking over a fire to playing faro on Whiskey Row.
"This is going to be the largest presentation of living history the museum has ever done," museum Chief Curator Mick Woodcock said, with about three dozen re-enactors including Gen. George Crook and the 1st California Volunteer Infantry.
"People will be able to see and relive what it was like back then," museum spokesman Ken Leja added.
A children's activity area will allow kids to participate in 1800s-era games such as quoits and hoops.
Print, blacksmith and saddlemaking shops will be operating all weekend, too. Spencer & Jackson will be playing old-time folk music on the Fremont House porch.