The Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) is an incredible place that showcases the rich and diverse history of Vancouver, Washington. Located in a beautiful Carnegie library built in 1909, this museum is a true testament to the county’s past. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the culture and history of Clark County and the Pacific Northwest.
As soon as you step inside the museum, you are transported to a different time. The collection is vast and includes thousands of artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the fascinating story of Clark County. From Native American artifacts to pioneer relics, and even items showcasing the industrial and technological advancements of the 20th century, the exhibits cover a wide range of history.
One of the highlights of the museum is the main gallery, where you can explore the permanent exhibit called ‘Currents of Progress: Clark County A to Z.’ This exhibit takes you on an alphabetical journey through the county’s history. Each letter represents a different aspect of the heritage, such as agriculture, breweries, and Chinook Indians. The exhibition brings history to life through artifacts, photographs, and interactive elements.
The museum also features rotating exhibits that offer new insights and perspectives on regional history. These temporary exhibitions delve into specific topics, such as the impact of the railroad on local communities or the effects of World War II on the region. By constantly changing their offerings, the museum ensures that even lesser-known aspects of the county’s history are brought to the forefront.
But the Clark County Historical Museum goes beyond just displaying artifacts. They strive to make history interactive and accessible to everyone. They offer a range of educational programs, walking tours, and lectures that engage the community and foster an understanding and appreciation of the past. One of their most popular initiatives is the annual History Walking Tours, where you can explore the architecture, history, and cultural landscape of Vancouver and Clark County’s neighborhoods.
The museum building itself is a piece of history. Its neoclassical design, characterized by beautiful brickwork and tall columns, reflects the architectural trends of the early 20th century. It is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places, further adding to its historical significance.
Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventurous explorer, or simply curious about the region’s cultural and historical landscape, the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver offers a thought-provoking and enriching experience. It invites you to discover the stories that have shaped Clark County, fostering a deeper connection with the community’s shared heritage.