The Friends operates the Friends Shop in the Visitor Center at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. It is a great place for books (new and vintage) AND MORE - we have a wide range of items that are reflective of the history of the Site that make unique gifts. We have Lillian Pitt's art works (jewelry, statuary, charms and mini-masks; clickherefor more information), masks and prints by Toma Villa (the artist who created the "Spirit Pole" in the Visitor Center, click here for additional information), Pendleton goods, posters, postcards, historic photos, magnets, water bottles, leather trade bags, pins, trade beads, Indian bead work and baskets, stuffed animals, Jacobsen salt, canned salmon, as well as NPS Passports & 2016 Centennial items.
The US Forest Service is now at the Visitor Center at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. US Forest Service regional maps are available for purchase at the Shop.
In conjunction with the new exhibit at Pearson Air Museum, "A Red Bolt from the Blue," the Shop has stocked some beautiful Russian items.
Items in this “Russian Collection,” including hand carved toys, Matryoshka (or nesting) dolls, lacquer pins, barrettes, boxes, and birch bark boxes are all handmade and intricately hand painted in Russia. Each item is a tiny work of art.
Matryoshka dolls were introduced to Russia from China over the “Silk Road” to Nizhny Novgorod in the late nineteenth century and soon after became a famous Russian tradition known throughout the world.
Birch Bark boxes and handcrafts were first developed in the birch forests of the Ural Mountains. Their patterns often reflect rugged mountainous scenes and animals of the forests.
Lacquerware is generally made of papier-mâché and for many it represents a high form of artistic talent. These are intricately hand painted, some reflecting Russian scenes, flowers and often fairy tales. Lacquer painting as an art form evolved from icon painting in Russia.
In addition to Rinker Buck's book, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, the Bookstore at the Visitor Center has stocked many vintage books for all age groups about the history and experience of the Oregon Trail.
We have stocked some unique cards and 8"x10" photographic posters from Tom Robinson's collection of historic photographs; Cards are $4, the 8"x10" posters retail for $10.
Lillian Pitt has also brought many of her baby animal mini-masks and some additional sterling silver jewelry to the Shop.
We have wonderful cedar bark baskets of the type traditionally used for huckleberry gathering, bead work, barrettes, necklaces and earrings by Native artists. We have cards by Anne John (whose paintings are featured in the theatre at the Visitor Center), posters, toys and much more that reflects the people, cultures and eras that are represented at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The collection of vintage and out-of-print books at the Shop cover a variety of topics, people and histories that interact with the Site. The collection is unique and well worth spending some time with. Please visit us soon to meet some Friends and do some shopping.
Friends Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 4:30pm. All items sold at the Shop interpret the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Toma Villa, a registered member of the Yakama Nation, has spent the last year working on the sculpture for the park's Visitor Center, in honor of the National Park Service's centennial year. The sculpture will be a permanent feature in the main lobby of the Center. Villa calls his work Spirit Pole. The work features two poles, each carved from a single cedar log, interspersed with cast glass sculptural elements and carving on the surface of the cedar. Toma began installing the work on April 23, 2016 and spent subsequent days working with his team on site at the Visitor Center to place and carve the sculpture.
The Spirit Pole symbolizes the harmonious dance that creates balance in nature, it focuses on the resources of the Pacific Northwest that have sustained people here for thousands of years. The Spirit Pole is a touchable artwork, so visitors of all ages can experience it visually, through touch, and by inhaling the scent of the carved cedar.
Toma’s portfolio of work includes murals, including those at Chief Joseph School in Portland and at Chief Kitsap Academy in Suquamish, Washington. He has experience in graffiti art, printmaking, painting, airbrush, sculpture and design. Along with artist Lillian Pitt, Toma works with school children in in the Columbia River Gorge teaching art, Tribal culture, the history of the Celilo Falls, and salmon fishing.
Toma's cast glass masks, limited edition prints and posters will be featured for sale at the FRIENDS Shop, which is also located in the Visitor Center.
Buffalo Soldiers Lecture November 12, 2016
On November 12, 2016 at 3pm in the Visitor Center at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, John P. Langellier will present a lecture entitled "Fighting for Uncle Sam: Buffalo Soldiers in the Frontier Army," based on his book of the same title. He will sign copies of his book that day as well.
November 12th is also the date of the Vancouver Veteran's Day parade, including the unit of Buffalo Soldier re-enacators who participate each year.
Buffalo Soldier and Medal of Honor recipient Moses Williams died at the Vancouver Barracks and is buried at the Post Cemetery.
This is an opportunity for visitors to focus their attention to the Barracks and to discuss diversity in the 19th century Ford Vancouver. Sergeant Williams "retired" at Fort Vancouver and lived among the poor folks who occupied the quarters to the west of the active Barracks, just west of the Hudson's Bay Company Village. The officer called to attend his death stated that Williams died "alone and without friends present." While his belongings, the officer discovered his Medal of Honor; this was the first anyone knew that he was a recipient. There is no record of what became of the Medal. In 1990, the Army and the City of Vancouver were instrumental in placing headstones (pictured here) reflecting the Medal of Honor status of the four recipients buried at the Post Cemetery.
The NPS website has a brief history of Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Vancouver, with some links to deeper discussions at the bottom of the webpage.
The Visitor Center is located at 1501 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98661.
Pendleton "River People" Blanket by Lillian Pitt
“I've spent a lot of time learning about my ancestors and studying the designs that they created ... their rock carvings, their baskets, beaded bags, dresses, the tools they used ... my work directly relates to and honors my ancestors, my people, the environment and the animals. This maintains my link with tradition and acknowledges the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world.” - Lillian Pitt, Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama
The Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has worked together with Pendleton Woolen Mills to arrange for an exclusive, limited run of 125 “River People” blankets. The blanket was designed by Lillian Pitt and measures 64”x80". The material content is 82% wool and 18% cotton; the edges are felt bound. The blanket is made in the USA by Pendleton Woolen Mills. Pendleton recommends dry cleaning only. The blanket sells for $249.00, exclusive of tax and shipping.
Blankets are now in stock in the Bookstore at the Visitor Center at 1105 E Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98661. If you out of town and are interested having a blanket shipped to you, please contact us.
Lillian Pitt, Artist
For a limited time the work of internationally acclaimed Pacific Northwest Native American artist Lillian Pitt will be available at the Friends Shop in the Visitor Center at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Her work includes prints, sculptures, native masks, jewelry, tiles and more. This is one of the few places in the Pacific Northwest that people can see and purchase Ms. Pitt's work.
The Visitor Center is located at 1501 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, Washington 98661. The Friends Shop in the Visitors Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am - 4:30pm. We have lots of wonderful inventory for you to discover, including books, beaded accessories, toys, trade goods, gifts, and Pendleton items. All items sold at the Shop interpret the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Sweetheart Hangar Dance
Our heartfelt thanks to all of you, contributors, musicians, dancers, planners, donors and volunteers, who made the 2016 Sweetheart Hangar Dance a great success! Pencil in February 11, 2017 for next year's dance - hope to see you there!