Thanks to a generous donor who asked that their donation go to the benefit of the Costume Department of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the department was able to sponsor a Workshop with Margaret Phillips on how to create ribbon pansies and leaves in several different styles. These ribbon flowers are used to decorate hats, costumes and other period accessories. Participants used scissors, ball head pins, ruler and tape measure, pencil, a notebook and a chalk marker in learning to create their flowers and leaves.
Ms. Phillips has an Advanced Diploma in Design and Embroidery as well as a Certificate in Textile Design with the City and Guilds of London. She has studied and enjoyed ribbon work for over 20 years, and is still discovering new uses and designs for this wonderful textile. Ms. Phillips loves textiles, and has been a seamstress, weaver, lace maker, fiber artist and costumer. We are honored to welcome her to the Site. If you want to learn more about her work visit her website Vintage Passementerie.
Every Kid in the Park 2016-2017 Transportation Grant
We are excited to let our Friends know about the local success of the "Every Kid in the Park" (EKIP) program. This is a program of the National Park Foundation (NPF) to allow school districts who would not be able to bring their fourth grade students to a National Park because of the cost of transportation to be reimbursed for those costs. The Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) at Fort Vancouver applied for and received an EKIP grant from NPF for qualifying schools in local school districts. It reimburses transportation costs for schools who do not have the funds to bring their fourth graders to a National Park.
The photo shows fourth graders from César Chávez K-8 on their recent trip to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Below is the text of a letter from their teacher, Ordella Reynolds:
The three fourth grade classes from our school participated in the Fort Vancouver tour yesterday. It was a unique opportunity for our children to participate in experiential learning.
Our school is a diverse, multilingual community with 100% of children on a free lunch. Students and families struggle to have basic needs met and our school partners with many resources to assist them. Most of our students have never been outside their neighborhood: they do not get to see and do many things that other children take for granted.
It would not be possible for our students to pay admission or bus costs to go on this field trip. The Every Kid in a Park fee waiver and bus transportation help of $250 made it possible for our students to attend.
Thank you for your role in serving our young scholar-citizens and providing equity in their educational experience. The kids were truly amazed by the buildings and artifacts. It helped bring their studies of the geography, history and economics of the region to life.
Please enjoy some samples of student writing following the field trip and a picture of my class.
With deep gratitude,
Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be applying for this program again for the 2017-2018 school year.
Photos courtesy of César Chávez K-8 and used with permission.
Garrison Flagstaff Reconstruction May 2017
The Community Military Appreciation Committee's (CMAC) presentation for Vancouver's Memorial Day Observance on Monday, May 29, 2017, included the dedication of the 80 foot reconstructed garrison flagstaff on the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground, which is located in the National Park. The flagstaff is dedicated to honor American servicemen and women from Clark County who have given their lives in service of their country. This project has been two years in the making, requiring historical research and archaeological testing and excavation to determine the historic location of the flagstaff prior to installation.
This project was made possible through a number of community partners who worked with the NPS, including the Fort Vancouver Lions, the Vancouver Metro Sunset Rotary Club, CMAC, the Friends of Fort Vancouver, and the City of Vancouver.
The flagstaff was a prominent feature in many of the historic photographs of the Site. It will be a great addition to have the restored flagstaff at its original site in honor of those who served.
Photos courtesy of the National Park Service; featured with the golden finial that tops the flagpole are NPS Facilities Manager Alex Patterson and Park Superintendent Tracy Fortmann.
Kids Dig! Summer 2017
Many thanks to an anonymous donor to the Friends of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site whose generosity allowed us to support the 2017 Kids Dig! program at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The funds pay for an intern from Washington State University Vancouver and Portland State University's archeology program to educate the children about archeology with a real, hands on experience of the work of archaeology. Through the Kids Dig! children from ages 8 through 12 years are introduced to the fascinating world of archaeology at one of the Northwest's most famous archaeological sites. The young archeologists excavate a mock site with the help of the student archaeologist interns, and discover what can be learned about the past from artifacts buried under our feet.
Kids Dig! programs took place on July 1, July 8, and July 22, 2017 at 10:30 am and 2 pm, inside the reconstructed Fort Vancouver.
Image used courtesy of NPS.
Blacksmithing Workshop July 2016
The Friends of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is honored to have partnered with the National Park Service, the Fort Vancouver Trades Guild Volunteers to bring retired Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmith Jay Close to the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center for a public panel discussion on the history, art, and science of early 19th century blacksmithing skills in July of 2016.
The panel was composed of Jay Close, a retired expert blacksmith from Colonial Williamsburg, Tom Dwyer, the president of the Fort Vancouver Trades Guild and a volunteer blacksmith for the National Park Service, and Dr. Bob Cromwell, a trained archaeologist and the Acting Chief Ranger for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (NHS). The panel discussed the similarities and differences of the modern blacksmith programs at Colonial Williamsburg and Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the advancement of technologies through time, and the role of archaeological research in documenting techniques.
"Blacksmithing was an essential industry across North America as Euro-Americans colonized the continent," said Bob Cromwell, Chief Ranger. "It is amazing to see the similarities in blacksmithing techniques used at sites such as Williamsburg, Virginia, all the way to the other side of the continent here at Fort Vancouver."
This panel discussion marked the end of a week-long blacksmith training program sponsored by the Friends of Fort Vancouver and the National Park Service. During the training sessions the demonstrations taught by Close were available for visitors to watch and learn from as well. Close replicated specific iron artifacts from the park's museum collection, and discussed manufacturing techniques used by the Hudson's Bay Company blacksmiths of the 1829-1860 period.
National Park Service Volunteer Tom Dwyer said, "The Trades Guild at Fort Vancouver has invited advanced blacksmiths from Colonial Williamsburg to do training programs for close to a decade. This program gives the volunteer blacksmiths a week long tutorial by a world class blacksmith. They, in turn, can share this knowledge with visitors to Fort Vancouver during living history demonstrations."
FVvr (Fort Vancouver Virtual Reality) April 2016
FRIENDS is honored to have partnered with NPS and Vancouver Schools to support FVvr (pronounced "Fever") a virtual reality tour of Fort Vancouver created by students from iTech Preparatory School in Vancouver, Washington.
Students worked with NPS at Fort Vancouver for over a year and a half to create FVvr as an educational tool for individuals who want to experience the Fort and learn more about its history and artifacts.
Students used special new cameras that captured 360º images mapping the inside and outside of the buildings, artifacts, costumes and landscape features that form the experience at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
We congratulate the Vancouver School District and the students from iTech Middle and High School, along with their visionary teacher John Zingale. We also recognize and appreciate the interpretive and cultural resource education work done by NPS staff and volunteers that formed the foundation given to the students as they created the work.
You can experience the results of their work here.