VIDEO: North Clark Historical Museum celebrates 110th anniversary by making history


Year-long program of discovery and personal learning will stand in place of event due to the pandemic  

AMBOY — A woman broke social norms to bring people together for the betterment of a community. A massive pandemic swept across the globe; reaching even the corners of that small community. People from very different backgrounds united to make that community a family. 

These could be stories of today, but in truth, they all took place over 100 years ago. 

From right to left, the board members of the North Clark Historical Museum: Debbie Zitt, Georgene Neal, April Reichstein, George Weisenborn, Jim Malinowski, Jerry Johnson, Barbara Rogers, Barbara Hagedorn. Photo by Mike Schultz
From right to left, the board members of the North Clark Historical Museum: Debbie Zitt, Georgene Neal, April Reichstein, George Weisenborn, Jim Malinowski, Jerry Johnson, Barbara Rogers, Barbara Hagedorn. Photo by Mike Schultz

The old white church in Amboy, was founded by circuit rider, Dora Young, in 1910, and eight years later was at a key location in the town’s response to the Spanish Flu of 1918 to 1920, which claimed 50 million lives. The parishioners were made up of immigrants from countries like Ireland and Germany, and many worked in the booming logging industry. 

Later on, the church was largely abandoned, before being completely renovated by volunteers in the 1990s. Today, it stands tall and strong as the North Clark Historical Museum. 

“In the COVID time when I think most families are going to be online learning, this would be the perfect year to come on board,” said Museum Board Member Debbie Zitt. “Bring awareness to this jewel that’s tucked away in north county so that many children would learn about their local history from. An awareness like word-of-mouth would be fantastic. Like mom’s telling moms, ‘Hey, go out to the museum, take your kids on a tour.’” 

The inside of the main chapel room at the museum can be seen here, complete with hand-sewn parishioners. Photo by Mike Schultz
The inside of the main chapel room at the museum can be seen here, complete with hand-sewn parishioners. Photo by Mike Schultz

Logging history, Native American history and the stories of countless residents are preserved at the museum, and the exhibits continue to grow and mature.  

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the church building and the beginning of the community touchpoint in Amboy. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic, much like the Spanish Flu, has greatly shaken up history. 

Instead of being disheartened at the cancelation of traditional, large gathering events, the board has decided to lean into the present and preserve the history happening now, Zitt said. The museum will host a virtual and small group format “Year to Commemorate.”

“That’s what you do. You make the best out of the situations that you have,” Zitt said. “My passion for my position here is to try to link the generations, I actually want to try to use the pandemic to bring families in for personalized tours, maybe weave them into history lessons.”

The exterior of the old farming equipment shop is shown here, adjacent to the main church building. Both are part of the museum. Photo by Mike Schultz
The exterior of the old farming equipment shop is shown here, adjacent to the main church building. Both are part of the museum. Photo by Mike Schultz

The museum will be launching a new website and newsletter, along with their Facebook page, to communicate with the community, especially families.

“We have quite a variety in our Native American things from all over the region going clear up and to the coast of Canada,” said Museum Board Member April Reichstein. “I learned a lot more about the Native American things than I ever knew. I’ve been writing grants, and some of that is drying up because of the pandemic. So, you know, we’re trying to be creative.”

The museum is also looking for volunteers that would want to keep up the outdoor grounds, do research onsite or at home, implement new technology, set up the machine shop, and organize and clean the church. All board members and volunteers wear masks during interactions, and the large facility allows for good physical distancing during small tours, Reichstein said. 

For more information on the museum and to learn more about the stories of people there, watch our video tour above or visit their Facebook page, which will have website details soon.

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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a graduate of WSU Pullman’s Edward R. Murrow College where he studied journalism and media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and abroad in Argentina. He has won a regional Emmy and Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his film work. His passions range from sharing the love of Jesus, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife and son in Vancouver, WA. Proverbs 16:3

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