In difficult times, Clark County Historical Museum is still preserving history

CCHM ends 2020 strong with two new sites

CLARK COUNTY — Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) will wrap up a year of innovation, growth, and success in 2020 with the addition of two new sites to the Clark County Heritage Registry. 

On Dec. 2, the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission met and approved CCHM’s nominations of the Melvins/Wolf Building and Kellogg House to the Registry. These nominations add to CCHM’s growing list of successful preservation efforts which include Old City Cemetery and the DuBois Building earlier this year.

The Melvins/Wolf Building in Clark County has now been added to CCHM registry of historical sites as of 2020. Photo courtesy of CCHM

The approval of these historic sites to the registry is one of the many highlights of 2020 for CCHM. The museum also received an Exhibit of Excellence Award from the Washington Museum Association (WaMA) for “Music, Movement, and Sound: An Exploration of Clark County’s Musical Roots” and an invitation for Executive Director Brad Richardson to join WaMA as a trustee. 

“These accomplishments are a pivotal point in CCHM’s stewardship under Richardson’s care — reflecting his forward-thinking leadership in historic interpretation and preservation,” the organization said in a release.

As the COVID lockdown in March shut the museum’s doors to the public, Richardson and his team rose to the challenge. The team saw the temporary closure as an opportunity to test new ways to engage with the community and focus on enhancing the organization’s offerings. 

Over the course of the year, CCHM produced nearly 100 hours of digital content in the form of presentations, virtual walking tours, and special programming, such as the Old Apple Tree Remembrance and History @ a Distance. 

The Old City Cemetery has now been added to CCHM registry of historical sites as of 2020. This photo of it was taken by Hermine Duthie Decker in 1976. Photo courtesy of CCHM
The Old City Cemetery has now been added to CCHM registry of historical sites as of 2020. This photo of it was taken by Hermine Duthie Decker in 1976. Photo courtesy of CCHM

The museum also began offering research workshops online, invited the community to share the story of life in Clark County during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic called Capture the Moment, and converted past exhibits for virtual viewing.

In addition to awards and digital content creation, CCHM became certified as a “Dementia Friendly Business” and is using that training to enhance the museum experience for patrons with dementia and their caregivers. 

The team continued interpretive and preservation work including opening a new women’s history exhibit “(Her)Story: Leaders, Visionaries, and Founders,” the successful nomination and approval by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission of four new sites to the Clark County Heritage Registry, a collaborative effort with Clark County and the Downtown Camas Association to create interpretive panels for downtown Camas, and providing digitization services for local organizations.

As the lockdown continued into the summer, CCHM focused on strengthening operations and collections. The museum launched a new website and online store with assistance from the students from the WSU Vancouver Digital Technology and Culture program. 

The Collections team continued to bolster its acquisition and curation systems to ensure the long-term stewardship of items held in its care. Operationally, the museum looked into cost-savings opportunities in its systems and new or expanded development opportunities for the organization; work that will begin rolling out in 2021.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the accomplishments Clark County Historical Museum has achieved this year. We could not have done so without an amazing team of staff, volunteers, and partners. Their passion and dedication to CCHM’s mission are the reason we are still going strong in spite of the COVID lockdown,” said Richardson. “The support from the community, especially from our members, sponsors, and donors, is humbling. Their continued faith in us has ensured that we will enter 2021 whole. Our future as an organization is full of possibilities and we will continue to strive to be a platform for all of Clark County’s stories in everything we do.”

The museum opened in 1964 as an exhibit and gathering space for the Clark County Historical Society, and is committed to gather, share, and save the community’s diverse stories through collaboration, facilitation, and engagement. The Museum is a nonprofit, community-focused, humanities center located at 1511 Main Street, Vancouver, WA. 

To learn more about CCHM and how to support its work, visit them at cchmuseum.org.

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