Victorian Handwork Demonstrations Featured at McLoughlin House Unit

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Date: September 7, 2006

For Immediate Release

Contacts: John Salisbury, NPS Park Guide 503-656-5151; Tracy Hill, Association Manager, MMA 503-656-5146


Oregon City, OR – The National Park Service at the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site announces a new public program series highlighting and demonstrating Victorian-era ladies’ handwork.

"Handwork played several important roles in the lives of nineteenth century women," noted Tracy Hill, a National Park Service Volunteer and McLoughlin Memorial Association Manager, "enabling physical survival, affecting and displaying social status, allowing artistic expression, and providing a ‘thread’ of communication between women that crossed cultural boundaries."

This new cultural demonstration is an exciting addition to the site’s programming as a new addition to the national park system," exclaimed Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian. "It is a fascinating program that increases visitor understanding of the types of handwork popular with women at sites such as the McLoughlin and Barclay Houses, the skill and artistry involved in its production, and its significant role in women’s lives and social circles."

The programs will be offered in September and October from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the last Saturday of the month at the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, located at 713 Center Street in Oregon City, Oregon. Each program will feature a different handcraft.

· On Saturday, September 30, 2006, from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m., National Park Service volunteers and McLoughlin Memorial Association Staff will demonstrate Hairwork and Hair Jewelry Making. To the Victorians, a lock of hair was a treasured token of love or friendship. How much more prized, then, was the loved one's hair worked into a piece of jewelry! Hair was used to make watch chains, brooches, earrings, and more. Come and learn about this unusual art form and watch a demonstration of how it was made.

· On Saturday, October 28, 2006, from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m., National Park Service volunteers and McLoughlin Memorial Association Staff will demonstrate Ribbon Work. What would the fashions of the Victorian era have been without yards of elaborate ribbon trims? Dresses, bonnets, outerwear and more were festooned with ruched and ruffled ribbons in many styles. Come and learn how to prepare your ribbon trims for your wardrobe!


The McLoughlin House was added to the National Park System in 2003 as a unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The house is restored to honor the life and accomplishments of John McLoughlin, the "Father of Oregon." The graves of McLoughlin and his wife Marguerite are next to the house, as is the home of Dr. Forbes Barclay, a Hudson's Bay Company associate, and his wife Maria. 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 activities -- create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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