Programs

Preservation

Preservation of the Empire Ranch House and other buildings is a primary mission of the Foundation. Click here to see a history of preservation projects completed and underway, most with funding and volunteer help from ERF.

Volunteer Days for hands-on preservation activities at the Empire Ranch are held 8am to noon on the third Saturday of February, April, June, August, October. Additional volunteer days may be scheduled for special events or additional preservation projects. Volunteers work on general upkeep and landscaping of the Empire Ranch Headquarters, and assist with preservation projects.  In addition to helping preserve and protect the Empire Ranch, you’ll enjoy learning new skills, and meeting with fun, like-minded folks! Additional Volunteer Days may be scheduled for special events or additional preservation projects. Go here to learn more about Volunteer Days, or go here to send in a Volunteer Opportunities Form. Volunteer with us and make a difference at the Empire Ranch!

Docent-led Tours

Docent-led walking tours of the historic Empire Ranch House are held at 11am on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Tours start at the Empire Ranch Visitor Contact Station and provide an introduction to the history of the Empire Ranch families and the buildings in which they worked and lived. Click here for more information.

Special Events

With the assistance of ERF volunteers and BLM staff, the Foundation sponsors events to raise public awareness, funds and friends. Follow links below to view our current event calendar and further descriptions of our recurring special events.

Current Working Calendar

  • Roundup & Open House – The annual Roundup & Open House, sponsored by the Empire Ranch Foundation, is held the first Saturday in November and draws more than 2,000 visitors who come to the Empire Ranch to enjoy Western heritage demonstrations, arena and livestock exhibits, cowboy cooking and Western entertainment.
  • Spring Trail Ride & Dinner – In 2010 the Foundation re-instituted its popular Spring Trail Ride & Dinner, which draws over 100 guests who experience the beauty of the Empire Ranch and Las Cienegas National Conservation Area by horseback, wagon ride or just for dinner and festivities.
  • “Empire 100” Western Art Show & Sale – Since 2003, the Foundation has hosted the prestigious, juried art show and sale with nationally recognized artists whose Western art is sold, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation.
  • Legacy Day for Students – Since 2004, the Empire Ranch has served as classroom for a day, when students and teachers from area middle schools travel to the ranch to learn about the history of the Empire Ranch and ranching heritage through demonstrations by local ranchers and cowboys and BLM staff.
  • Western Movies at The Loft Cinema – Western movies are celebrated, shown on the big screen at The Loft Theatre in Tucson. Oftentimes the movies were filmed at the Empire Ranch, but they always represent a great classic tale as seen through film.

Oral Histories & Archives

The Foundation is actively gathering and organizing photos, oral histories and other documents relating to the Empire Ranch and the Foundation. Oral history interviews are conducted with individuals who lived and/or worked on the Empire Ranch or who have had significant involvement with the Empire Ranch.