The Clark County Historical Museum is operated by the Clark County Historical Society which is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization governed by a Board of Trustees. The Clark County Historical Society works in partnership with Clark County and the City of Vancouver to operate the museum and produce an annual publication entitled Clark County History. Each year the Clark County Historical Society raises 71% of the museum’s annual operating budget (cash) via contributions and earned income. Click here for the current year’s list of contributors.
The Clark County Historical Society is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the cultural history of Clark County and the Pacific Northwest, and to sponsoring educational programs and exhibits for the enrichment of all members of the public. The Clark County Historical Society is the governing body for the Clark County Historical Museum which is located in Vancouver, Washington’s 1909 Carnegie Library on 1511 Main Street.
The Clark County Historical Society (CCHS) originated in 1917 and was legally incorporated on March 29, 1940. The CCHS is a non-profit 501 c (3) corporation. The organization has undergone several legal name changes during its 90-year history of community service (originally known as the Fort Vancouver Restoration and Historical Society). The original charge of the organization was to assist in the preservation of historic sites (i.e. Fort Vancouver, Covington House, Cedar Creek Grist Mill) and the collection of historical artifacts of significance to the people of Clark County.
The CCHS opened the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) on May 24, 1964 inside Vancouver’s 1909 Carnegie Library. The building was previously occupied by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library System. The museum building, listed on the National Historic Register of Places, is owned and maintained by the City of Vancouver. The CCHS works in partnership with the City of Vancouver and Clark County to provide museum services to the people of Clark County. Daily operations, program development and planning for the CCHS are overseen by an Executive Director who is professionally trained in accepted preservation and interpretive standards.
On January 12, 2007, after three years of hard work and planning, the CCHS, officials from the City of Vancouver, Clark County and the State of Washington cut the ribbon on the museum’s new accessible entrance, parking spaces, elevator, and remodeled restrooms. This very important improvement to the museum building was made possible with the financial support from the following: Clark County General Fund, Clark County Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), City of Vancouver, City of Vancouver CDBG Program and the taxpayers of Washington State.
In addition to our public programs, the CCHM maintains a broad based collection that includes artifacts from the mid-1200s through the present. The collection includes the following types of objects and/or archival materials:
- Archaeological (both Prehistoric and Historic)
- Native American basketry and beadwork
- Territorial history
- Clark County settlement
- Research Library features books, documents, maps, ephemera (everyday printed material such as pamphlets, newspaper cuttings, advertising brochures), photographs and negatives, and oral histories
- Artwork and textiles
- Industrial, medical, and household objects and tools
- The Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railway (SP&S)
Overview of Services
The primary function of the CCHS/CCHM is to acquire, store, preserve, exhibit, publish and interpret documents and artifacts relating to the history of the people of Clark County and their significance to Pacific Northwest and U.S. history. CCHS is directly responsible for the operation, maintenance, staffing and improvements of the museum and its research library.
To achieve the above functions, the museum produces changing interpretive exhibits utilizing the tangible historic objects stored in the museum collection and supplemented with temporary loans of additional related items from the community and/or other heritage organizations. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits from larger institutions and regularly provides lectures, classes, special events, student internships, teacher training opportunities and other related education programs to further the appreciation of the history and culture of Clark County. The CCHS also publishes an annual publication titled Clark County History.
The CCHM research library provides photo reproduction and research services.
The CCHM operates a museum store that features books and items related to museum programs.