Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
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News Releases
Eighty-Four Fort Vancouver NHS Volunteers Recieve Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coins - 03/23/17

Volunteers have supported the National Park Service since its founding in August, 1916. Volunteers still uphold the agency's values today by working with national park staff and partners to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources of the National Park System. For this reason, volunteers who dedicated 201.6 or more volunteer hours to the National Park Service during 2016 - the agency's centennial year - were awarded custom-made, antique bronze Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coins. These exceptional volunteers also received a congratulatory letter from the Director of the National Park Service.

At Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 84 volunteers earned the Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coin for the volunteer hours they contributed in 2016. These dedicated volunteers helped to ensure a multitude of park programs. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is supported by a dedicated base of over 400 volunteers, and an annual total of over 700 volunteers. Volunteers support public special events, act as museum docents and tour guides, sustain the park's living history programs, maintain the historic garden, assist in the archaeology lab, participate in archaeological digs, educate visiting school children on field trips, clean up waterfront areas, and much more.

The centennial year of the National Park Service was an opportunity to reflect on the past 100 years, but also a time to kick off the next century of resource protection and stewardship. For more information on volunteering at the national park, visit and search for "Fort Vancouver National Historic Site."

Special Event and Lecture at Pearson Air Museum Commemorate the Centennial of America's Entry Into World War I - 03/21/17

On April 8, 2017, from 10 am to 3 pm, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host a commemoration of the centennial of the entry of the United States into the First World War. This free event will take place at Pearson Air Museum.

During World War I, Vancouver Barracks was home to the headquarters of the Spruce Production Division, a U.S. Army division charged with producing spruce lumber for the war effort. The history of the division's massive Spruce Mill, which was located at the Army post from 1917 to 1918, is commemorated in the museum's "Straight Grained Soldiers" exhibit. In honor of the centennial, the existing exhibit will be augmented by the addition of World War I U.S. Army uniforms and other historic artifacts from the national park's museum collection.

The event will also feature costumed interpreters, family-friendly crafts and activities, and a presentation on the DH-4 Liberty plane, which will take place from 2 pm to 3 pm. The Liberty plane was the only American-made, American-piloted aircraft to fly in combat during the war. The lecture will focus on the history of the plane both during and after the war. A newly-restored DH-4 Liberty debuted at the museum last August, and is now on permanent exhibit.

"The First World War was the first truly modern war, and although it was known as 'the war to end all wars,' that sadly has not been the case," said Chief of Interpretation Dr. Bob Cromwell. "The United States' entry into World War I signaled to the world our rise as a global superpower, and we want to make sure that the visitors to the national park remember and realized the contributions and sacrifices everyday Americans made 100 years ago to help win the war."

What: Commemoration of the Centennial of America's Entry into World War I

When: Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10 am to 3 pm; "The DH-4 Liberty, in War and Peace," will be presented from 2 pm to 3 pm.

Where: Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661

Cost: Free

Free, Public Event Highlights Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood's Oregon Trail Experience - 03/16/17

On March 25, 2017, from 1 pm to 3 pm, Roger Shipman will present a talk on "Into the Eye of the Setting Sun: The Story of the West When It Was New." This book, available in an indexed, softcover edition, was written by Shipman's great-great-great grandmother, Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood, who crossed the Oregon Trail in 1843 when she was just five years old. The memoir was edited by Shipman.

Kirkwood's wagon train left Elm Grove, Missouri, with more than 100 wagons, 1,000 men, women, and children, and 5,000 oxen and cattle trailing behind. Dr. Elijah White, a Presbyterian missionary who had made the trip the year before, served as guide. More than eighty years later, with a keen mind, a sharp wit, and a delicate sense of humor, Charlotte set down these poignant memories so that later generations could experience them, too.

At this free event, Shipman will share his ancestor's experience, and the story of the family after crossing the nation in the first train of the Great Migration of 1843.

What: Roger Shipman, editor of "Into the Eye of the Setting Sun," discusses his great-great-great grandmother's Oregon Trail experience.

When: March 25, 2017, 1 pm to 3 pm.

Where: Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661

Lois Chichinoff Thadei Shares Experiences of Art and Aviation - 03/08/17

Join the Friends of Fort Vancouver and the National Park Service for a unique afternoon event of art and aviation! Lois Chichinoff Thadei is a bush pilot and aviation mechanic who learned from Clark County's own Wally Olson at Evergreen Airport. To receive her pilot's wheel rating and learn to dope and fabric old aircraft, Thadei commuted between Ketchikan, Alaska and Vancouver on a pontoon plane via Seattle.

Thadei, born into a Tlingit and Haida community in Southeast Alaska, is also an artist who comes from a family of Native Alaskan artists. Her work responds to a seasonal cycle as different materials become available. In the winter, she fires pottery in her home, creates stained and fused glass work, and weaves Ravenstail baskets using cedar bark and grasses. She also creates jewelry from sterling silver, glass, copper, jasper, sapphire and ruby. In the summer, she harvests and cures native grasses in the traditional method, creates and fires raku, and makes hand-built pottery.

Please join us for a memorable afternoon as Thadei shares reminiscences of learning to fly, journeying across the Northwest, and creating art that expresses and celebrates her heritage.

What: Local artist and pilot Lois Chichinoff Thadei discusses her art and experiences as an aviator.

When: March 18, 2017, 1 pm to 3 pm. Lecture begins at 2 pm.

Where: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Visitor Center, 1501 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Introduces Redesigned Park Annual Pass (Photo) - 02/28/17

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site recently redesigned the Fort Vancouver Annual Pass, giving a fresh aesthetic to this popular National Park Pass. The Fort Vancouver Annual Pass is now a convenient wallet-sized plastic card displaying a photo of vivid sunflowers in the Fort Vancouver garden with the fort's bastion in the background.

The pass, which costs $30.00, is valid for 12 months of free admission for the pass holder and up to three guests. Children ages 15 and under are always free. The pass allows for free access to historic programs, cultural demonstrations, and the beautiful park grounds at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. Pass holders also enjoy free admission to the Fort Vancouver stockade during special events such as Independence Day and Christmas at Fort Vancouver. The pass is very popular among local families and frequent visitors to the park.

To purchase a Fort Vancouver Annual Pass, visit the Fort Vancouver Contact Station at 1001 E Fifth Street, Vancouver, WA 98661 during regular operation hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm). Other passes available in the Fort Vancouver Contact Station are the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, Interagency Military Pass, Annual 4th Grade Pass, Senior Pass, and Access Pass. For more information, call the Fort Vancouver Contact Station at 360-816-6244.

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