Partnership Program Explores National Park's Military History through 25 Museum Objects

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Date: June 17, 2013
Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, Fort Vancouver NHS, 360.816.6231
Contact: Tania Hyatt-Evenson, Oregon Encyclopedia Project, 503.725.3990

What: A one-hour presentation and iBook launch exploring the history of nineteenth century Vancouver Barracks through 25 objects in the national park's archives and reference collection

When: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Arrive early for seating. First come first served!

Where: McMenamins Edgefield Power Station Theater, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, OR, 503.669.8610.

Who: All ages are welcome

How Much: Free!

VANCOUVER, WA – In partnership with Portland State University (PSU), the Oregon Encyclopedia, the Oregon Historical Society, and McMenamins, the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be presenting a special program and iBook launch on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 titled Revealing Our Past: A History of Nineteenth Century Vancouver Barracks through 25 Objects.

The program will be presented by Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Adjunct Professor in the PSU History Department, with PSU history graduate students Marc Carpenter, Bradley Richardson, Beth Cookler, Mike Dicianna, David Hedberg, and Luke Sprunger.

In the one-hour presentation, hosted by McMenamins at the McMenamins Edgefield Power Station Theater, Shine and graduate students enrolled in the recent Public History Field School at Fort Vancouver will use objects to explore and connect attendees to the daily life of soldiers, civilians and families at the region's nineteenth century Army post. A new iBook publication of the same title will also be officially launched. Several of the 25 objects will be exhibited onsite.

"What was life like at the Army's Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks in the mid-to-late 1800s? What went on there, and how did it compare to other places? Also, what role do tangible items in historical archives, museum collections, and archaeology play in helping us understand our collective past? Our presentation—and our new book-- seek to answer these questions and also illustrate the national significance of Vancouver Barracks as a unit of the national park system today," explained Shine.

"Public history, for me, is about making what we do as scholars interesting and accessible to a wider audience," said Carpenter. " I think having these materials available digitally is great; it gives an immediate accessibility to some of the wonderful things the park has to offer."

This free public presentation—and the production of the free iBook, also titled Revealing Our Past: A History of Nineteenth Century Vancouver Barracks through 25 Objects—is the culminating activity of the 2013 Public History Field School at Fort Vancouver, a nationally-recognized partnership program between the National Park Service and Portland State University instructed by Shine.

"Limiting ourselves to just 25 of the national park's more than two million collection items made for some difficult, surprising and provocative choices," Shine said, "and the people who come out to the presentation will have a chance to talk with us about our process and our experience crafting what we believe is a compelling and engaging public history project."

"Most of us students were approaching this material for the first time," said Carpenter. " I think that newness gave us a sense of wonder about the stories these objects could tell, and that came through in the text."

This event is part of the ongoing regional Oregon Encyclopedia History Night series.



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 of 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, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special events and activities -- create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.

Poster advertising the June 25, 2013 presentation
Participants in the 2013 Public History Field School pose for a group photo inside Fort Vancouver.
Participants in the 2013 Public History Field School at Fort Vancouver NHS

NPS Photo

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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