Museum collections are one of the most important resources of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. They are tangible, authentic pieces of the past from native peoples, Fort Vancouver, Pearson Field, and Vancouver Barracks.
The legislatively-mandated partners of the Historic Reserve - the City of Vancouver, the State of Washington, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Army - agreed that the National Park Service would be the lead agency for the care of museum collections.
This decision reflected the professional museum policies of the National Park Service, the second-largest museum system in the nation after the Smithsonian. National Park Service curators are held to the highest standards, and are the caretakers of some of our nation's most special treasures.
For many years, professional curators at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site have cared for museum items associated with the Historic Reserve, over two million archaeological and historic artifacts housed in a secure, climate-controlled facility on site. The exception was the Pearson Air Museum collection.
In 2010, with the permission of the City of Vancouver and the Fort Vancouver National Trust, the National Park Service began safeguarding the portion of the Pearson Air Museum collection that was held in storage. We do not own the items, but are caring for them on behalf of our partners.