Fort Vancouver Village is Highlighted in Museum Collection Open House

Pipe Bowl
This carved argillite tobacco pipe bowl was excavated from a former Village house site and will be on display at July's Museum Collections Open House


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News Release Date: July 6, 2012

Contact: Meagan Huff, (360) 816-6255

On Saturday, July 14, 2012, Fort Vancouver's museum staff will share stories and artifacts from the Fort Vancouver Village at a Museum Collection Open House. The Open House will be presented in conjunction with Fort Vancouver's 2012 Public Archaeology Field School, which is currently excavating in the South Barracks portion of the Village.

Visitors to Saturday's tours will be allowed inside the park's curatorial facility to view artifacts that have been excavated from the Village and tell a story about the people who once lived there. Highlighted artifacts will include Spode ceramics, Hawaiian coral and shells, stone tools, tobacco pipes, and lithic (stone) tools.

"This month's Open House is especially exciting. It will allow us to tell the story of the Village using previously excavated artifacts, and at the same time the Field School is finding new artifacts every day," said Museum Technician Meagan Huff.

In the 1830s and 1840s, the Fort Vancouver Village represented the largest settlement in the Pacific Northwest, and was home to a diverse group of people from around the globe, including English, French-Canadian, Scotch-Irish, Native Hawaiians, the Métis, and representatives from a variety of American Indian tribes. Inhabitants of the Village were Hudson's Bay Company employees, or "servants," who worked a variety of jobs throughout the Fort.

"These artifacts help the National Park Service to tell the history of the Village, which was the heart of colonial Vancouver," said Doug Wilson, National Park Service Archaeologist, "It's a special treat for the public to go behind the scenes to see these splendid objects."

Archaeological excavations in the Village began in 1947, and continue today. This year's Field School's efforts are concentrated in an area of the Village that includes three house sites. The Field School's dig site is open to the public, and visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour to the site before or after the Open House tours.

Museum Collection Open Houses take place from March through October (excluding September) on the second Saturday of the month. Open Houses are organized into guided tours that take place on the hour beginning at 10:00 AM, with the last tour starting at 3:00 PM. On the day of the Open House, visitors must register for a tour time with the Park Ranger stationed in the Contact Station just inside the gates of the reconstructed Fort.

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.

For more information, visit

WHERE: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 East 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661

WHEN: Saturday, July 14, 2012

COST: Free with admission to the Fort

Background: 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, 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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