New Exhibit Highlights History of Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Field

Lt. Noel B. Evans
Lieutenant Noel B. Evans of the 321st Observation Squadron was stationed at Pearson Field from 1925 to 1932


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News Release Date: March 22, 2013

Contact: Meagan Huff, (360) 816-6255

On Friday, March 29, 2013, a new exhibit highlighting the history of Vancouver Barracks and the birth of Pearson Field will open at the Pearson Air Museum. The exhibit, titled Army Boots and Army Wings, will take visitors on a journey from the post's origins in 1849, to the important regional role it played at the turn of the century, to the foundation of the Spruce Mill, which produced aviation-grade lumber during World War I, to its role as an Army Air Corps base, and beyond.

The exhibit will feature a wide variety of archaeological and historic artifacts from the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site museum collection, including insignia worn by General Oliver Otis Howard, an ornately decorated pitcher and washbasin excavated from Officer's Row, and welding gear used by a "Wendy the Welder" at Vancouver's Kaiser Shipyards during World War II.

Said Museum Technician Meagan Huff, "One of my favorite artifacts that will be on display in this exhibit is a small booklet that was given out to the men of the 1st Aero Squadron, who worked for the Spruce Production Division at Vancouver Barracks, after the end of World War I. Inside, just like our high school yearbooks, it lists all the 'bests' and 'worsts' of each of the soldiers - with categories like 'Squadron Tightwad' and 'Squadron Nut.' It shows that the soldiers who lived here back then are just the same as people today. The men who worked at the Spruce Mill played a vital role in fighting the war on the home front, and made a major contribution to the global history of aviation. This exhibit is a great opportunity to explore those kinds of connections at every point in the history of the post."

"We welcome this opportunity to exhibit items related to Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Field, many of which have never been on display before. Sharing this museum collection with the public is the best part of our work, a way to connect current generations to Vancouver's rich, multilayered history," said Curator Theresa Langford.

What: Army Boots and Army Wings, a new exhibit highlighting the history of Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Field

Where: Pearson Air Museum

When: The exhibit opens on Friday, March 29, 2013. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Cost: Admission is free



Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is at the heart of Vancouver's 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.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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