The park held its spring 2012 “School of Artillery” over two days in mid-April, taking 18 students all the way through the two-day certification course.
The park’s historic weapons program, which has been in operation since 1957, has been dependent on volunteers for its continued operation since the mid-1980s. For this reason the park holds the School of Artillery to insure that there are always plenty of volunteer artillerymen to serve the demonstration needs of both the Castillo and Fort Matanzas National Monument.
The school has traditionally been one of the primary inlets for volunteering in living history in the two parks, but with such high demand for spaces in the school the park has over the years had to add a fall School of Artillery and an on-the-job training program for volunteer recruits.
The School of Artillery stands as one of the few regularly held historic weapons safety training courses in the nation, with individuals coming from as far away as Puerto Rico, California, and Maine to participate.
In fiscal year 2011, they supported almost 1200 demonstrations for over 350,000 visitors. While accomplishing this, the park VIPs donated over 15,000 hours in interpretation to the two parks.