Current Exhibits

Clark County Stories: How We Came to this Place











NEW – On Thursday, October 18 at 5:30 pm, you’re invited to the opening reception of our newest exhibit, “Clark County Stories: How We Came To This Place.” Since the beginning of the year, area residents and neighbors have shared their migration and family stories through oral history interviews, community conversations, memoirs, poetry, and objects. All in an effort to get to know each other and understand our shared history better.

The series tagline “How We Came to this Place” is both literal and historical, as we ask…How has Clark County become the way it is today?

Through these storytelling topics we are trying to capture glimpses of identity across time, place, and culture.

We’d like to thank our series sponsors and coordinators:

CCHM, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, Humanities Washington “Washington Stories” Grant, Peabody’s College of Arts and Sciences Meyer Distinguished Professor Fellowship, Washington State University Vancouver, and Washington State University History Department’s Pettyjohn Fund.

Dr. Sue Peabody, a Historian and Meyer Distinguished Professor of History at WSUV, and Dr. Donna Sinclair, Public Historian and Adjunct Professor of History at WSUV, and Brad Richardson, the museum’s executive director and historian.

Music, Movement, & Sound: An Exploration of Clark County’s Musical Roots

Open Now – Music is math; music is science; music is language; music is history; music is in all things.

The concept that music reaches deep into our lives and community is at the core of our exciting new exhibit Music, Movement, and Sound: An Exploration of Clark County’s Musical Roots.

This display is a family-friendly, educational, and inspirational exploration of Clark County’s musical roots and our community’s vibrant musical culture today. We feature local and national artists and community groups, such as, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Chinook Indian Nation, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Friends of the Carpenter, The Responding, 204th Army Band, Battle Ground Community Band, Vancouver USA Singers, Washington Old Time Fiddler’s District 10 Players, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Diane Schuur, Ceremonial Castings,  Amber Sweeney, Doug Smith, Gary Hobbs, A.M.E Zion Community Church, The Juleps, River Twain, Lincolns Beard, Part Time Perfect, Harvest Gold, and many, many more.

Our exhibit also features Clark County’s Covington Piano, which is the first piano brought to the Pacific Northwest. After departing Europe by ship, the Covington Piano braved South America’s tumultuous Cape Horn before arriving in the Oregon Territory in 1846. This 1830s Playel upright had been a wedding gift to Richard and Anne Covington, who were both recruited by the Hudson’s Bay Company to serve as educators at Fort Vancouver. On their overseas journey from London, England, the musical twenty-somethings brought with them a violin, guitar, and what is now a revered piece of regional history, the Covington Piano: the first piano to arrive in the Pacific Northwest.

We use interpretative panels, historical objects, and new interactive stations to create an exhibit where visitors can not only discover the living history of music, dance, and radio in Clark County and Southwest Washington but engage with it.

We want to give a heartfelt thanks to our exhibit sponsors BNSF, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Realvest, Clark County, Wager Audio, and The Brickhouse Bar and Grill. Their support made this possible. Additional support was provided by Hammersmith Rock Institute. We also want to thank artist Anni Furniss for her amazing artwork for our exhibit.

Follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and/or get CCHM emails for upcoming exhibit news and events. Stay tuned in!

Vancouver Clinic and the History of Health in Clark County

The Clinic’s history starts in July 1929, when Dr. John C. Brougher treated his first patient in Vancouver. In the early days, Brougher traveled both paved and dirt roads to deliver Clark County’s babies.

An industrious and compassionate physician, Brougher’s practice grew quickly. By the late 1930’s, he needed help. The first to join him was GP, Dr. Frank Boersma in 1937. Then, that same year, Dr. H. Leslie Frewing joined as their surgeon. Two years later, the final founding physician, Pediatrician, Dr. David R. Loree, joined the budding group.

In 1941, they changed their name to the Vancouver Clinic and a pillar of the Southwest Washington medical community emerged.

Visit us and explore the clinic’s 80+ years of care, plus discover special medical-related objects from the very beginnings of our collection and more.

ALL ABOARD! Clark County Rides the Rails


All Aboard!: Clark County Rides the Rails retraces the development of railroads in Clark County.

Railroads nearly didn’t happen in Clark County. In the 1850’s, the territorial governor, heading a survey for a railroad route, found the north bank of the Columbia River a near-impossible barrier for rails heading east. County cities debated over the location of a rail bridge over the river. Small railway companies came and went. The economic depression of the 1890’s put the street cars of Clark County out of business, never mind attempts at larger rail systems, and the disastrous Yacolt fires tabled any plans for developments in transportation in Clark County.

All this changed with the birth of the Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railway (SP&S), which transported Clark County goods across the Northwest, eventually making its way south into California, and ended its long career in the 1970’s merging with several other small rail systems to become the Burlington Northern.

From the first dream in the 1860’s of rails linking the Columbia River and Puget Sound, to the birth and storied history the SP&S Railway (Spokane, Portland & Seattle), All Aboard engages visitors with the triumphs and trials and personalities and conflicts of those determined to create the Northwest’s own railway.

SP&S: The Northwest’s Own Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railway

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SP&S: The Northwest’s Own Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railway is a permanent interpretive display that reaches beyond the walls of the Clark County Historical Museum and is housed in Vancouver’s 1909 Train Depot (Amtrak Station).

This exhibit was made possible through years of work and generous support grants from the Transportation Enhancement Program, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation, and the BNSF Railway Foundation.

Families, travelers, train enthusiasts, and more will marvel at how our county was transformed by railroads over the past 200 years. From the dawn of the steam engine to how trains are the backbone our modern society, this slice of homegrown history is free to the public with plenty of parking.