Past Events

Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield

A group of men stand outside of a pool hall in Ridgefield, Washington (1910)

As part of Historic Preservation Month, Clark County Historical Museum is taking its First Thursday Speaker Series to Ridgefield’s Old Liberty Theater on Thursday, May 2, for “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield.” This free event is part of the museum’s new initiative to celebrate the local businesses, architecture, and history along Clark County’s Main Streets. The event begins at 7 p.m.

“We are excited for the opportunity to hold this event during Historic Preservation Month at Ridgefield’s historic Old Liberty Theater,” said Brad Richardson, CCHM executive director and “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield” keynote speaker. “Downtown Ridgefield and its businesses have a long and storied history. We feel it’s important to discuss the stories of our communities at, or in, the places where they took place. It hearkens to the idea, ‘If these walls could talk.’ The Old Liberty Theater provides the perfect setting for this exploration and discussion.”

Originally called Union Ridge due to the large number of Union soldiers who settled in the area after the Civil War, the town formally came into being at a special election held in 1909. The residents decided by a vote of 62-12 in favor of incorporation.

In that same year, the established businesses, as advertised in the Ridgefield Reflector, were two general merchandise stores, a department store, two lumber mills, a water well contractor and driller, two contractors and builders, a boat builder, meat market, hotel, livery and draying, boot and shoemaker, creamery, barber shop, blacksmith, realtor, and a weaver.

“Today, the businesses in historic Downtown Ridgefield serve the community in a different way, but retain the spirit of those early days in 1909,” Richardson said.

Through the support of the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission, the CCHM is providing this talk at no charge to the public. “Celebrate Main Street: Ridgefield” is made possible through partnerships with North Clark Historical Museum, La Center Historical Museum, the Ridgefield Main Street Program and the Clark County Historical Museum.

“We are fortunate to have several strong history organizations in our North County,” Richardson said, “and we are overjoyed to have this opportunity to partner for this important launch of celebrating Main Streets across the county.”

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

Member Appreciation Month 2019

April is Member Appreciation Month! Members are the foundation of the Clark County Historical Society and Museum, and we have planned some exciting Member Appreciation Month events to show our gratitude for their support.

Current members are invited to join us for these free activities and extra perks. Please know that eventspace is limited and reservations are required.

Email us at or give us a call today at 360-993-5679 to reserve your spot.

Need to renew, or not a member? Renew or join us here.

Pomeroy Living History Farm & Wine Tasting 

Saturday, April 6 – Enjoy an afternoon at Pomeroy Cellars Winery and Tasting Room located at the Pomeroy Farm in Yacolt, Washington. Taste their decadent wine, peek inside the historic log house and barn, and tour the beautiful gardens. (This is a 21+ only event.)

The Life and Works of Mary Barnard

Saturday, April 13 – Betty Bell will give a talk about her friend, Mary Barnard. A poet, biographer and Greek translator, Barnard created award-winning poetry and led a fascinating life.

Old City Cemetery Walking Tour Preview

Saturday, April 27 – In a special preview, be the first to take our brand new Old City Cemetery Walking Tour, led by our very own executive director, Brad Richardson.

CCHM Members Scanning Day

Your Clark County photos could be featured in an upcoming exhibit!

Saturday, April 27 – Are you a member? Do you have historical images you’d like to share with the community? We’re looking for original images valuable to Clark County history. Specifically, we’re seeking images that fit within the following themes: breweries, wineries, prohibition, celebrations, rivers, roads, and ports. 

Members may bring up to five (5) original photos to be donated, or scanned and returned, during our Scanning Day event on Saturday, April 27. Please call the museum at 360-993-5679 or email us to schedule an appointment. 

Space is limited for all of our Member Appreciation Month events.
Please make your reservation early

Kiggins: The history of John P. Kiggins and his theatre

Exterior of Kiggins Theatre, 1941

 Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, April 4, with historian Andrew Gregg’s presentation of “Kiggins: The history of John P. Kiggins and his theatre.” This talk will highlight the life of Vancouver’s former mayor and his monumental impact on Clark County. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.

Initially assigned to serve at the Vancouver Barracks at the turn of the nineteenth century, a 31-year-old Sergeant Kiggins vowed to transform Vancouver from a sleepy crossroads town to a thriving city. Within a few years of his arrival, Kiggins launched a political campaign that resulted in his first of many terms as Vancouver’s mayor.

Kiggins also established a successful construction company, and built several commercial buildings and theaters along Vancouver’s Main Street. The historic Kiggins Theatre, of course, is the landmark for which the mayor is best remembered.

“Vancouverites of a certain age nostalgically recall that theatre as a venue for life events that remain special memories,” Gregg said. “Whether it was a first movie, first date, or first kiss, the Kiggins Theatre is a place that is inextricably bound to our sense of place, our respect for history, and that feeling that our human journey is defined by experiences that might be shared with complete strangers in a darkened movie house. And, it is to J.P. Kiggins we owe the debt of enjoying his vision for Vancouver more than a century later.”

Andrew Gregg is a Vancouver native who saw his first big-screen movie at the Kiggins Theatre in 1961. After a K-12 education in Vancouver Public Schools, Gregg graduated from Willamette University, attended Gonzaga University School of Law, and completed a master’s degree in public history at Washington State University. A National Board Certified teacher, Gregg has served as Clark County Arts Commission’s chairman, and is currently a Clark County Historic Preservation Commissioner. Since 1973, Gregg has written extensively about his hometown.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

Providence White Caps: The Memoir of a St. Joseph’s Nurse

As part of Women’s History Month, Clark County Historical Museum will hold a talk Thursday, March 7, with Judith Jacobs Litchfield, author of the 2017 memoir “Providence White Caps: The Diary of Bernice Lorang, RN.” Litchfield’s book recalls the story of her aunt, Bernice (Lorang) Bartel, who enrolled in the registered nurse program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, during World War II.

“Bernice Lorang’s diary and our one-on-one interviews provided the heart and soul of this historical time capsule,” said Litchfield. “Bernice’s vibrant voice afforded a stirring recall of her youthful family life and student nursing journey, bringing a slumbering seventy-year-old past back to life.”

During the early 1940s at the age of 19, Lorang became one of thousands of student nurses in the United States to join the Cadet Nurse Corps. This book and presentation chronicle the experiences she and fellow nurses had at that time.

“A recovered history links us to the past. It preserves our individual and collective culture for the future,” Litchfield said. “This book could not have been written without the historical archives that the various museums offered.”

This presentation, titled “Providence White Caps: The Memoir of a St. Joseph’s Nurse,” is part of the 2019 CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the event begins at 7 p.m.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

February First Thursday – NAACP Generations: Vancouver NAACP Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Clark County Historical Museum will launch its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, Feb. 7, with “NAACP Generations: Vancouver NAACP Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” This event will feature conversations with past, current, and future presidents of the NAACP Vancouver Branch 1139. Speakers will include past president Earl Ford, current president Bridgette Fahnbulleh, and assistant president Jasmine Rucker Tolbert. The panel will be moderated by local author Jane Elder Wulff. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

“The Vancouver NAACP was established during World War II when better paying jobs in the shipyards brought forth the single largest increase in Vancouver’s African American population,” said Fahnbulleh. “For more than 70 years, the organization has served the local community by working to combat and eradicate racial discrimination in the area.”

CCHM’s presentation of “NAACP Generations” will explore the organization’s early history in Vancouver, the evolution of the branch, and its contemporary stories and accomplishments.

Jane Elder Wulff will begin the event with a brief discussion of the origins of the Vancouver NAACP, drawing from her 2012 history book “First Families of Vancouver’s African American Community,” which documents the stories of those who came to Vancouver seeking wartime jobs in the 1940s. Earl Ford will then lead a discussion on the Vancouver NAACP during his 10-year presidency, and Bridgette Fahnbulleh will discuss the current priorities and progress of the branch.

“There is a strong need in Clark County for culturally affirming resources to inspire and support our diverse community members,” said Fahnbulleh. “Many people are feeling culturally isolated. The NAACP can help to address these issues, enrich our community, and help us reach our potential of a more inclusive and diverse community.”

As a potential future Vancouver NAACP president, and the current vice president, Jasmine Rucker Tolbert will conclude the panel with a discussion of the organization’s vision looking forward.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by Clark County’s Historic Preservation Commission. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free with a CCHM membership. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

From Lucky to Loowit: The Fall of Lucky Lager and the Rise of the Craft Brewing Industry

Join us for our inaugural “History on Tap” event, to be held at the historic Kiggins Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 17. This interactive and entertaining program will feature a trivia quiz, a Q&A segment, a talk on local history, and a selection of local brews. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

“We’re excited to partner with the historic Kiggins Theatre on this new and exciting event for the community,” said Brad Richardson, CCHM executive director. “Our goal is to have fun with our history and explore popular historical stories in an engaging way.”

The evening will commence with a gameshow-style segment in which audience members are invited on stage to answer a series of history questions about Clark County and beyond. The questions will be drawn from a Clark County trivia game created by local historian and author Pat Jollota. The next segment, called “Ask Pat,” will feature Jollota’s answers to one question about local history, as selected from social media, email, or submitted through the museum.

The final segment will be a talk given on a historical subject. Talks will range from local topics of interest, to narratives that have gained national popularity. Steve Bader, of Bader Beer and Wine Supply, will present the Jan. 17 talk, titled “From Lucky to Loowit: The Fall of Lucky Lager and the Rise of the Craft Brewing Industry.”

“The closing of Lucky Lager Brewery in 1985 seemed to signal the end of more than 100 years of beer production in downtown Vancouver,” Bader said. “Over the last two decades, however, passionate local brewers have come together through small bars, pubs, and microbreweries to create a culture of craft brewing in our community. We are in the midst of an exciting new chapter in Vancouver beer making.”

Other topics for the 2019 program include “The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington,” Pat Jollota’s newest book, on April 18, and “Stuff We Used to Believe” on July 18. The 2019 program will conclude Oct. 17 with “Campfire Tales,” during which local historians will recall their scariest Clark County ghost stories.

Admission to “History on Tap” is $15 in advance, or $18 the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased at the Kiggins Theatre Box Office, the Clark County Historical Museum, or online at Audio support for “History on Tap” is provided by the Courtney Irvin Trust, and marketing support is provided by Zzoom Media. Additional support is provided by Vancouver’s Downtown Association. Tap Takeover for the Jan. 17 event will be sponsored by Loowit Brewing Company.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

CCHS Annual Membership Meeting & Farewell to Making Beauty







Celebrate 2018 and Look Forward to the New Year
CCHS Annual Membership Meeting and Awards

Join us Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) will be hosting its annual membership meeting and awards ceremony. Come hear Executive Director Bradley Richardson talk about their great year of exhibits, programs, and events in 2018 and find out what’s in store for 2019.

In addition to the regular agenda, CCHM will honor members of the community for their service in support of gathering, saving, and sharing our history. The awards will included the Margaret Colf Hepola Heritage Award, W. Foster Hidden Service Award, and Southwest Washington Group Heritage Award.

Closing the Circle
A Farewell to Making Beauty: Native Beadwork of North America

After the meeting, we will host a farewell gathering for the long-standing exhibit Making Beauty: Native Beadwork of North America. Don’t miss this final chance to experience the beauty of traditional and contemporary Native American bead work from across the Northwest Coast, Plateau, and Plains regions.

CCHS Board Member Becky Archibald notes,

Making Beauty: Native Beadwork of North America covers the trade routes of how beads came to be in America. Tribal Nations used beadwork in adornment with family colors, tribal affiliation, and the symbols that hold great meaning as well as some used as trade cash. It’s been an honor to bring this exhibit to the community to promote greater understanding. And with its closing it thereby brings the circle complete

General admission is for either/both events is $5.00, seniors and students are $4.00, children under 18 are $3.00, and the evening is FREE with a CCHM membership. Doors open at 5:00pm. We encourage attendees to get there early, as it is first-come, first-served seating.
For more information, please contact us at 360-993-5679 or by email at

CCHM November First Thursday: Southwest Washington Native American Music

Music continues to play a central role in the lives and spiritual expression of the Southwest Washington Native American Nations.

According to Cowlitz Tribe Spiritual Leader Tanna Engdahl, “Our drummers and singers are not just musical performers to be called forward to events. The music that they play is spiritual, no different than when people sing praise songs in the house of the Lord.” Music also remains at the center of Cowlitz art and culture. This is prominently displayed during the annual Cowlitz Tribe pow wow, a celebration that includes drumming and intertribal dances.

An important piece today of the Chinook Indian Nation’s musical tradition exists with the Cathlapotle Plankhouse. Sam Robinson, Chinook Indian Nation Vice Chairman, notes, “The songs that we share are always, always greatly important.” Within the walls of the Plankhouse, people are brought together to drum, share songs, dance, and provide blessings, passing forward the musical legacy of the Chinook Indian Nation.

We are incredibly honored to have members of Southwest Washington Native American Nations present this special event and share this unique window into Southwest Washington’s past with our community.

For more information, please contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

Join us at our Annual Membership Meeting



Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm we’re holding our Annual Membership Meeting. All current, renewing, and prospective members are welcome. Come hear Executive Director Bradley Richardson talk about our great year of exhibits, programs, and events in 2018 and find out what’s in store for 2019.

Don’t miss your final chance to experience the beauty of traditional and contemporary Native American bead work from across the Northwest Coast, Plateau and Plains regions. Join us as we celebrate our exhibit Making Beauty during our farewell reception at 6:00 pm after our November 15th Membership Meeting.





Clark County Stories: How We Came to this Place

In the past thirty years, the population of Clark County has more than doubled, from 221,654 to nearly 500,000 in 2017. More than half (54%) of the current residents were born in another state, while over 10% of the county’s residents in 2015 were born in another country. Recognizing a growing gulf between recent arrivals and Clark County residents with deeper historical roots, Dr. Peabody and Dr. Sinclair, in collaboration with the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM), Washington State University Vancouver, and Fort Vancouver Regional Library District has undertaken a series of projects to identify bearers of these stories, foster outreach, community dialogue, and understanding, collect and archive these stories, and make them available locally and more widely for future researchers.
Please join Washington State University Vancouver, Fort Vancouver Regional Library, and CCHM as we explore Clark County Stories at the following events below:

Sharing Our Stories

Storytellers drawn from more than 150 who participated in the 2018 “Clark County Stories” series will share their stories. The audience will also be invited to share their own three-minute anecdotes on the themes of “Favorite Places” and “Migration Stories” in Clark County.

Sharing Our Stories: Thursday, October 11 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at WSU Vancouver, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, 98686

Clark County Stories Exhibit Opening Reception

Thursday, October 18 at 5:30 pm at the Clark County Historical Museum 

For more information: contact us or call (360) 993-5679.

Sponsored by: 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.

2017 GiveMore24! – Your Place in History

For GiveMore24! the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) wants to know about your place in history! Our Museum is more than the building that holds our important objects, artifacts, and archives. It’s also where we store our community’s memories. That said, many of our memories are tied to a place. We are calling on you to share a place in Clark County where you connect with history, whether it’s a larger story, a place to preserve, or your own personal journey. We are looking for participants to send us a photo and a single sentence to show AND tell us about their place in history. Then on September 21st remember to give at :

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CCHM September First Thursday: A Field Trip to Columbia Springs

Field Trip to Columbia Springs…

Join the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) on Thursday, September 7, 2017 for our FREE Museum After Hours event to learn more about Columbia Springs!  This event will NOT be held at the museum.  We will be meeting at Columbia Springs, located at 12208 SE Evergreen Hwy. Vancouver, WA 98663 at 6pm.  We will be visiting this great organization, learning about its history, and taking a look at its beautiful grounds.

Columbia Springs is the historic site of the first lumber mill in the Pacific Northwest, and current home to the Vancouver Trout Hatchery, which was built in 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

We will take a tour of the facilities and hear about the history and current operations. This is a free event. Please meet us at Columbia Springs, we will be in the large classroom to start. Where comfortable walking shoes as we will be taking a leisurely stroll.


Cultural Traditions Community Meeting – Sept. 11, 2017

CCHM will be hosting a Cultural Traditions Community Meeting.  Join us at the museum on Sept. 11, 2017 at 10am to give your input on the development of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions.

Launching this fall, the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions will be Washington State’s new folklife and traditional arts program, and we are hosting a series of community meetings to get your input on the Center’s development.

What is folklife, and what are traditional arts? They are activities and objects that are inseparable from a cultural community. They are expressions of people’s heritage and help tell their story: foods, occupations, crafts, traditional medicine, storytelling, music, and more.

The Center will support tradition bearers throughout the state, interpret the state’s rich cultural heritage, conduct meaningful research, and create a range of innovative media and programming.

Join us at one of our FREE community meetings across the state this summer and fall to:
• Learn about the development of the Center, and plans for its future.
• Learn about networks supporting Washington communities’ heritage.
• Discuss some of Washington’s many cultural traditions with community leaders, tradition
bearers, the Center’s Director.
• Share your ideas and questions.
• Help us create strong partnerships and effective programming
that honors our diverse pasts, shared present, and collective

The Center is a partnership between Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission/ArtsWA.

For more information contact: Kristin Sullivan, Director, Center for Washington Cultural Traditions: | (206) 682-1770 ext. 107 or visit

CCHM November First Thursday: Persistence for Survival – Chinook People Past & Present


CCHM’s First Thursday Museum After Hours on November 2nd at 7:00pm features Chinook Vice Chairman Sam Robinson. He will present a talk titled “Persistence for Survival – Chinook People Past & Present.” In this talk, Sam will discuss the history of the Chinook Nation’s existence and relationship to the United States from contact to the continuing struggle for federal status.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, $3 for children under 18, and free with a museum membership.

Please contact us at (360) 993-5679, by email or visit our website today for more information.


History Town Hall – Yacolt/Amboy

Hear and Share Your History

Join the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) and the North Clark Historical Museum at 7:00 pm on July 17, 2017 at the North Clark County Historical Museum (21416 NE 399th St, Amboy, WA 98601) for the next installment of our series of countywide town hall conversations about each community’s history and heritage.

The evening will begin with a moderated panel discussion comprised of community historians. Each panelist will delve into the historical people, places, or moments they feel embody the spirit of Yacolt/Amboy history. A question and answer session with the audience will follow. During that time, the community historians and citizens of Yacolt/Amboy will examine the cities place in Clark County history and along the way tell many great stories about their history and home.

These town halls, held in the different Clark County communities, will act as an inspiration for each community’s representation in future exhibits. Each evening will be recorded and reviewed by those working on programs and exhibitions.

Doors will open at 6:30pm and the discussion will start at 7:00pm. Admission is free. For more event information and questions, contact the museum at or by phone at 360-993-5679. We offer local history at your fingertips!