Clark County Historical Museum summer workshops to focus on telling life stories

Area writers can turn their Clark County stories into creative nonfiction

VANCOUVER — Join the Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) this summer for an array of workshops focusing on telling life stories through the written word. Whether you’ve lived in the area all your life or arrived more recently, learn to record and share how you (and your ancestors) came to and made their mark on Clark County.

How I Found Myself in Clark County: Discovering the Self Through Poems of Place

Sat., July 28, 1-2:30 p.m.

Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main Street, Vancouver WA, 98660

Presented by Christopher Luna, Past Poet Laureate of Clark County

Christopher Luna
Christopher Luna

In 2003, New Yorker, Christopher Luna, found himself on the other side of the country, uncertain how to navigate the strange new culture of the Pacific Northwest. He spent the next decade writing poems and observations of Vancouver, WA (a place he nicknamed Ghost Town, USA) and building the local literary community through the popular Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic.

Join Luna, the first Poet Laureate of Clark County (2013-2017) in a discussion about making peace with unfamiliar surroundings and the power of writing poems of place. This 90-minute workshop will include a short writing exercise as well as ideas for writing poetry that begins where you are.

Christopher Luna served as Clark County, WA’s first Poet Laureate from 2013-2017. He has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is the co-founder (with Toni Partington) of Printed Matter Vancouver, an editing service and small press for Northwest writers. He has hosted the popular Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic in Vancouver, WA since 2004. Luna’s books include Brutal Glints of Moonlight, GHOST TOWN, USA and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978.

To register for these events, please give the museum a call at (360) 993-5679 or email to

These workshops are part of the series.

Clark County Stories – How We Came to this Place:

Recognizing a growing gulf of understanding between recent arrivals and Clark County residents with deeper historical roots, Washington State University Vancouver professors, Sue Peabody and Donna Sinclair, in collaboration with CCHM, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, and Humanities Washington, began a series of community conversations to identify bearers of these stories of change, foster community dialogue, and facilitate mutual understanding.

Given that the population of Clark County has more than doubled in the past three decades (from 221,654 to nearly 500,000 in 2017) and more than half (64 percent) of the current residents being born in another state or country, they got to thinking: “How did all these people come to Clark County?” and “How is Clark County changing in response to this growth?”

Born out of those questions, “The theme – How We Came to This Place – is both literal and metaphorical,” says Sinclair. “We are looking at stories of migration: how residents and their ancestors arrived here. But, we are also interested in exploring together the historical question: how is `this place’ the result of historical forces, both local and global?”

Adds Peabody: “Each of us has a story about how we came here. Each of us can see the rapid development and changes in our communities. These facilitated conversations are designed to help us explore our connections to Clark County and our shared recent history. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and share what’s on your mind.”

Brad Richardson, CCHM executive director, notes that while the older history of Clark County has been well documented, the oral histories and stories of these newcomers need to be captured and shared with our community.

This series is an opportunity to begin adding these new stories into our collective history.

The full calendar of Clark County Stories events can be found here:

Donna Sinclair, Ph.D. is an independent scholar specializing in oral history and the history of the Pacific Northwest.

Sue Peabody, Ph.D., is Meyer Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and History at Washington State University Vancouver.

Sponsored by: CCHM, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, Humanities Washington “Washington Stories” Grant, Peabody’s College of Arts and Sciences Meyer Distinguished Professor Fellowship, Washington State University Vancouver, and Washington State University History Department’s Pettyjohn Fund.

The Clark County Historical Museum is operated by the Clark County Historical Society (CCHS), which is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization governed by a Board of Trustees. CCHS works in partnership with Clark County and the city of Vancouver to operate the museum in a 1909 Carnegie Library building. The vision is to facilitate a more educated and connected community through meaningful engagement with history. CCHM is located at 1511 Main St, Vancouver, WA 98660, just off the I-5 and Mill Plain Blvd. Daily hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. For further information, call (360) 993-5679, email, or visit

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