Past Events

Buffalo Soldiers in Clark County


February CCHM Speaker Series presenter Frazier Raymond, right, stands with the late Bill Morehouse, founding member of the Buffalo Soldiers – Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter.

Clark County Historical Museum will launch its 2020 Speaker Series on Thursday, Feb. 6, with Frazier Raymond’s presentation of “Buffalo Soldiers in Clark County.” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

Raymond is president of the Buffalo Soldiers – Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter, 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry Association. Raymond enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry in 1968 and retired in 1990, with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in many locations, including Vietnam, Fort Lewis, WA, Europe, and South America.

“When I was in the Army, before I retired, I did not know much about the Buffalo Soldiers,” Raymond said. “It was only after I retired and joined the Buffalo Soldiers – Moses Williams Chapter that I found out how similar our experiences were. I look forward to telling this story.”

For the Speaker Series event, Raymond will discuss his own military service and involvement with the Buffalo Soldiers, and reflect on his personal connections to sites related to Buffalo Soldiers in the Pacific Northwest and how those experiences have shaped his perspectives on military service.

To learn more about the Buffalo Soldiers – Moses Williams Pacific Northwest Chapter, 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry Association, visit buffalosoldierspdx.com/Pacific_NW_Chapter.html.

The CCHM 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 for CCHM members, veterans, and active-duty military personnel. 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 outreach@cchmuseum.org.

National Unpublished Writers’ Day

Clark County Historical Museum, with Artstra, Rose City Book Pub, and Washington State University Vancouver will celebrate writing and Richard Brautigan during the 2020 National Unpublished Writers’ Day event at the Museum on Saturday, January 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public.

Planned activities include readings, workshops on writing and publishing, and information and activities for writers of all ages. “National Unpublished Writers Day will highlight a broad approach to writing for Museum visitors,” said Bradley Richardson, museum executive director.

“We are truly honored to be a part of this year’s National Unpublished Writers’ Day,” said Artstra chair, Karen Madsen. “By bringing together emerging and established writers, this event aligns perfectly with our organization’s goal of supporting local artists and encouraging arts accessibility. This is just one more way to help writers find their voice and gain confidence and to ensure the arts thrive in our community.”

“Internationally acclaimed writer Richard Brautigan was born here in Washington,” said John Barber, faculty at Washington State University Vancouver, a Brautigan scholar, and curator of the Museum’s Brautigan Library collection. “He suffered many rejections before achieving success as a writer. The Brautigan Library celebrates Brautigan’s vision and perseverance by providing a place where interested writers can share their narratives, regardless of content or quality. National Unpublished Writers Day celebrates this collection, its mission, and Brautigan’s birthday, Jan. 30, 1935, in Tacoma,” Barber said.

More about the Brautigan Library

What does Veterans Day mean to our veterans?

A Grand Army of the Republic group in Orchards, Washington (CCHM photo)

In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month, Clark County Historical Museum will conclude its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, Nov. 7, with “What does Veterans Day mean to our veterans?” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

This presentation will feature local veterans, including leaders and members with Vancouver’s Community Military Appreciation Committee (CMAC). Speakers will reflect on their military service, life since retiring from military service, and the meaning and personal significance of Veterans Day. Area veterans are encouraged to attend and share their own thoughts on Veterans Day during the audience discussion following the panel presentation.

In addition to Patrick Locke and Richard McHugh, who each served tours in Vietnam, the panel will also include CMAC board member Sean Gibson as moderator.

Gibson, who grew up in Bethel, Alaska, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1988 as an infantryman, then earned his commission in 1990. He served for six years as an infantry officer with deployments to the Middle East, Okinawa, and the Western Pacific, and as a recruit training supervisor and operations officer. For the last 20 years of his career, Gibson served as a public affairs officer in a variety of assignments in the United States with deployments to Kuwait and Iraq. He retired in 2016 from Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C., then immediately put the Pentagon in his rearview mirror to drive west and settle with his wife and son in Vancouver.

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 for veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families, and CCHM members. 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 events@cchmuseum.org.

History A-Brewin’: Vancouver Brewing History

Clark County Historical Museum is taking its First Thursday Speaker Series to Vancouver’s Loowit Brewing Company, 507 Columbia Street, for “History A-Brewin’: Vancouver Brewing History.” This free event will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.

This presentation will serve as a public introduction to the museum’s upcoming exhibit, opening in January 2020, celebrating Clark County’s extensive brewing history and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of prohibition.

CCHM Executive Director and event moderator Brad Richardson will begin the program by offering a brief overview of Vancouver’s brewing history with a focus on Lucky Lager Brewery and Great Western Malting. The program will then transition to a panel presentation featuring locals associated with these organizations and brewing in Clark County. Presenters include Sue Abbott, Carl Mullen Jr., Bryan Shull, and Tim Starkey.

Sue Abbott is the logistics manager for Great Western Malting, having been with the company’s Vancouver site for 36 years.

Carl Mullen Jr. began working for Vancouver’s Lucky Lager in 1972, filling the role of executive vice president. Mullen later assumed the role of president and was with the company until the Vancouver site closed in 1985.

Bryan Shull is the owner-operator of Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver. His grandfather and father made their careers at Great Western Malting, where Shull also worked for a time during college.

Tim Starkey worked in the operations portion of Lucky Lager for four years, and was present when the Vancouver location closed in the mid-1980s.

The CCHM First Thursday Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. 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 events@cchmuseum.org.

Medical practices during the Lewis and Clark expedition

Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, with historian Barb Kubik’s presentation of “Fifteen Pounds of Peruvian Bark and Two Ounces of Camphor: Two Doctor-Captains and the Corps of Discovery in Clark County.”

This presentation will examine Captain Meriwether Lewis’ list of medical supplies for the Corps of Discovery, and how some of those supplies, including botanicals and pharmaceuticals, were used in 1805 and today.

A native of Vancouver, Wash., Kubik has lived and worked along the Pacific Northwest portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail for more than 40 years. She is a historian, author, educator, and a long-time member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors.

In her work as a historian, Kubik has explored the lives of members of the Corps, including the Corps’ scientific observations and medical care.

This presentation will be held in conjunction with a public reception celebrating the museum’s newest exhibit, “Currents of Progress: Clark County Rivers, Roads, and Ports,” beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5.

Exhibit topics include Native American Nations and their relationships with the waterways; Hudson’s Bay Company; early transportation; the establishment of the ports of Vancouver, Camas-Washougal, and Ridgefield; the impact of World War I and World War II; and the state of our ports today.

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

Faith Music: History of the Community A.M.E. Zion Church Choir

Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, Aug. 1, with “Faith Music: The History of the Community AME Zion Church Choir.” This free event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Community AME Zion Church, 3605 East 13th St. in Vancouver.

Music plays an important role in worship at Vancouver’s Community AME Zion Church. Since its establishment in 1975, many members of this congregation have participated in the ministry by playing instruments, performing vocals, or involving themselves with choir or dance. For the “Faith Music” First Thursday event, Reverend Joyce M. Smith, senior pastor, will explore this history, and the history of the church, alongside Brother Charles Simmons and Reverend Dayton Smith.

Through the support of the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission, the CCHM and Community AME Zion Church are providing this talk at no charge to the public.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at events@cchmuseum.org.

Canoe Life and Lords of the Inland Waters

Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, July 11, with “Canoe Life: Traveling with Our Ancestors” and “Lords of the Inland Waters.” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

These joint presentations will explore the relationships that Southwest Washington Native American Nations have had, and continue to have, with the region’s rivers and waterways. The evening’s featured presenters will be Tanna Engdahl, Cowlitz Tribe Spiritual Leader, and Sam Robinson, Chinook Indian Nation Vice Chairman.

“Centuries before European arrival, the Cowlitz designed and created the perfect river transporter: cruiser and freighter rolled into one. We still have a tribal carver whose hands are guided by the Ancestors,” said Engdahl, whose presentation is titled “Lords of the Inland Waters.”

Robinson’s presentation, “Canoe Life: Traveling with Our Ancestors,” will recount his experiences in the canoe, including ceremonies and tribal stories.

“Our ancestors had relationships with people all along as they put out of the mouth of the Columbia River and they would head north and south,” Robinson said. “And it is all-important for us Chinook people to travel on these journeys…because you are keeping those relationships.”

CCHM is honored to have members of Southwest Washington Native American Nations present this event and share this window into Southwest Washington’s past with the community.

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

Southwest Washington and Marriage Equality

Clark County Historical Museum will continue its 2019 First Thursday Speaker Series on Thursday, June 6, with “Southwest Washington and Marriage Equality.” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

This talk will explore the regional push for marriage equality and the narratives and lived experiences surrounding those efforts. Topics of discussion will include awareness of gay and lesbian issues in Clark County, the local campaign for marriage equality, and what remains to be done in Clark County following marriage equality. Event speakers will include Rory Bowman, Nikki Costa, and Micheil MacCutcheon.

Rory Bowman is a fifth-generation Washingtonian, born and raised in Vancouver. He has been involved in various gender justice issues since the 1980s, and is a board member with ACLU of Washington.

Nikki Costa is a public servant, having worked for Clark County in law and justice for more than 25 years. She is active in Rotary and has served on the Washougal City Council, the C-Tran Board of Directors, the Washougal Civil Service Commission, and the Washougal Cemetery Board. Costa has engaged politically on issues of equality since 2009, and has always been a visible and vocal member of the LGBTQ community.

Micheil MacCutcheon has spearheaded statewide marriage equality efforts from Clark County. He organizes Saturday in the Park, Vancouver’s annual LGBTQ Pride event, and has developed “Legal Family Matters” workshops that educate LGBTQ families on their legal and medical rights.  

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

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 events@cchmuseum.org 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

CCHM 2019 Gala

Join Us

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

2019 Program

Click HERE to purchase tickets for the next History on Tap.

Clark County Historical Museum unites history and hops as part of its interactive program, “History on Tap.” Each event features a trivia quiz, a Q&A segment, a talk on a popular historical topic, and — of course — a selection of local brews. Events are held at the Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver, 1011 Main Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

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 kigginstheatre.com/movies/history-on-tap. Audio support for “History on Tap” is provided by the Courtney Irvin Trust. Additional support is provided by Vancouver’s Downtown Association and ZZeppelin.

2019 Program

January 17: 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. 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.

April 18: Pat Jollota Presents “The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington”

Local historian and author Pat Jollota presents the chilling details of the tragic 1950 murder of JoAnn Dewey in downtown Vancouver, and the subsequent arrests and trial. This talk is based on Jollota’s newest true crime history book, “The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington”

July 18: Stuff we used to believe — Strange stories from our past

Presented by CCHM resident historian, Brad Richardson, this talk will explore once popular theories, beliefs, and ideas that have since been challenged or debunked. Presented in the style of a late-night comedy newscast, topics will include the truth behind Benjamin Franklin’s “discovery” of electricity, the histories of bizarre medical treatments, and local folklore.

October 17: Campfire Tales — The haunting history of Clark County

Presented by local historians Brad Richardson, Pat Jollota, and Jeff Davis, this talk will explore the modern folklore of Clark County through historical interpretations, personal stories, and folktales related to our history and various haunting accounts.

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 events@cchmuseum.org.

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 events@cchmuseum.org.