‘How We Came to This Place’ seeks to help Clark County natives and newcomers understand each other

Clark County Historical Museum, WSU Vancouver professors work together through events to facilitate dialogue and record history at a time of explosive growth in the population

Fifty-four percent of the people who currently call Clark County home were born in another state or country, according to the Clark County Historical Museum.

That’s just one interesting fact about a population that has exploded over the past 30 years from 221,654 to nearly 500,000 in 2017.

Two events have been scheduled in the continuing “Clark County Stories -- How We Came to This Place” series, beginning with “Migration Stories” from 1 to 4 p.m. May 26 in the Columbia Room of the Vancouver Community Library. The second event is titled “Sharing Our Stories” and is scheduled form 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at WSU Vancouver. Photo courtesy of the Clark County Historical Museum.
Two events have been scheduled in the continuing “Clark County Stories — How We Came to This Place” series, beginning with “Migration Stories” from 1 to 4 p.m. May 26 in the Columbia Room of the Vancouver Community Library. The second event is titled “Sharing Our Stories” and is scheduled form 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at WSU Vancouver. Photo courtesy of the Clark County Historical Museum.

The wide-ranging and ever-changing mix of newcomers and natives is one of the reasons for the “Clark County Stories — How We Came to This Place” series, a project launched by Washington State University Vancouver professors Sue Peabody and Donna Sinclair in collaboration with the Clark County Historical Museum and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District.

Two events have been scheduled in the continuing series, beginning with “Migration Stories” from 1 to 4 p.m. May 26 in the Columbia Room of the Vancouver Community Library. The second event is titled “Sharing Our Stories” and is scheduled form 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at WSU Vancouver.

Participants will visit in facilitated small groups and come together in a larger group to explore their shared history.

“The theme – How We Came to This Place – is both literal and metaphorical,” Sinclair said in a press release. “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?”

The overall goal of the series is to answer two basic questions: How did all these people come to Clark County? And how is Clark County changing in response to this growth?

“Each of us has a story about how we came here,” Peabody said. “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.”

Clark County Historical Museum Executive Director Brad Richardson noted that while the history of Clark County has been well documented, the stories of newcomers need to be captured and shared with the community.

The full calendar of Clark County Stories events can be found here:  www.cchmuseum.org/category/upcoming-events/.

More about the speakers:

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.

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