Museum Collection Open House Tours Take Visitors Behind-the-Scenes

Museum Collections Open House tour
Visitors to this year's Museum Collection Open House tours will go behind-the-scenes to learn about the artifacts in the park's museum collection


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News Release Date: February 21, 2013

Contact: Meagan Huff, (360) 816-6255

In 2013, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site's popular Museum Collection Open House program will return on the second Saturday of the month, March through October. The Museum Collection Open House program takes visitors on special, behind-the-scenes tours through the park's curation facility, which is home to two million archaeological and historic artifacts.

Museum Collection Open House tours bring visitors up close to a variety of artifacts from the collection, which span over two hundred years of history and prehistory. This year's tours will feature archaeological artifacts from the Hudson Bay Company's Fort Vancouver, which stood from 1826 to 1860, and artifacts from Vancouver Barracks, built in 1849 and occupied by the U.S. Army until 2012. Historic artifacts will also be highlighted, including items owned by the family of Dr. John McLoughlin, the fort's first Chief Factor, and letters and postcards written by soldiers stationed at the World War I-era Spruce Mill, which produced aviation-grade lumber for the war effort.

Meagan Huff, Museum Technician at Fort Vancouver, stated, "The Fort Vancouver Museum Collection is truly a treasure. This collection tells us so much about who we are and where we came from, as Northwesterners and as Americans. It is such a pleasure for me to help share this collection with our community through this program." Huff, who runs the Museum Collection Open House program, is a native of Vancouver, Washington, and graduated from the University of Washington with a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies. She has been one of the curatorial staff managing the park's museum collection since 2010.

Each month's Open House tours will focus on a different historical theme, and bring together artifacts related to that theme. Curator Theresa Langford added, "It is our responsibility and honor, as a federal museum, to keep the collection accessible to the public. Open Houses are one way we can achieve this goal, and focusing on a particular theme each month will help visitors place the artifacts in their historical context."

Museum Collection Open Houses take place from March through October on the second Saturday of the month. Open Houses are organized into guided tours that take place twice a day, at 12:00 PM and at 2:00 PM. Tours of the collection will last about 30 minutes, and are free with the price of admission.

Due to space constraints and the delicate nature of the artifacts in the collection, tours are limited to 15 people. Children over 10 years old are welcome. Tour reservations can be made by contacting Museum Technician Meagan Huff at (360) 816-6255 or e-mail us.

For more information, and to view a schedule of this year's tour topics, visit


What: Museum Collection Open House tours of the Fort Vancouver Curation Facility. Learn more at

When: The second Saturday of the month, March through October, 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM. Reservations for tour dates and times can be made by contacting Museum Technician Meagan Huff at (360) 816-6255, or e-mail us. On the day of the tour, visitors can sign up for available tour spaces at the Contact Station inside the reconstructed fort.

Cost: Free with admission



Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks fo the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver's role in regional and national development. The Reserve's vast array of public programs - including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special events - create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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