Fort Walla Walla Days

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This is the museum's first big outdoor event of the season! Join us for a family-oriented, two-day event commemorating Walla Walla Valley regional heritage with historic reenactors, live demonstrations, children’s pioneer games and more. Visitors will meet fur traders; Spanish-American War, Civil War, and Buffalo soldiers; old west cowboys; gold-rush miners; Lewis and Clark-era explorers; and early Walla Walla pioneers. There will even be a 19th-century chuck wagon on display, along with several other wagons! The forge in the blacksmith shop will again be set alight by two working smiths.

Living History performers will be making their homes in the Pioneer Village. Early Walla Wallan Fred Stine will be talking about the importance of Johnny Appleseed for planting apples-not to eat, but to make vinegar for food preservation. He will share the basics of preserving food with salt and vinegar and early canning techniques. William McBean, Chief Factor of the fur trade Fort Walla Walla, will bring some of his goods for bartering. Visitors can also see some items owned by McBean in the special exhibit, Fantastic Finds: Treasures from the archives. Also on site will be William Hurst Rockfellow, wagon master and prospector, ready to recruit miners to help work his claim at the Virtue Mine in Idaho. David Douglas, the famed British wilderness botanist, will be hunting for plant samples. Visiting from the Pendleton Underground tour is Chinese immigrant Hop Sing, who ran a laundry and bathhouse in Pendleton. He will be talking about the history and experiences of Chinese immigrants in America.

Visitors on Sunday afternoon will be witnesses to a very special Living History wedding! Two pioneers will exchange vows, and everyone is invited! There will be music provided by Myron Huie, who will be playing his 99-year-old Gibson guitar, refreshments, and some dress-up props to immerse guests in the experience.

Visit our pop-up photo booth with old-fashioned props and clothing-use your own smartphone to take a picture and make instant memories! Kids can participate in pioneer games. The representatives of Regional Homeland Tribes have been invited to participate as well.

Special Military Exhibits:  Civil War Pistols and Military Insignia

In the Grand Hall will be a one-time showing of two special military exhibits.  Civil War Pistols, curated with the assistance of Sullivan Friebus, Whitman College intern, includes a collection of 18 original handguns produced between 1740 and 1865. This exhibit includes a number of rare revolvers and seven different models made by Colonel Samuel Colt.

The Industrial Revolution was in full swing during the mid-19th century and many inventors tried their hand at making a better pistol to sell to the U.S. government. This period represents the transition from paper-wrapped to metallic cartridges. This display will include single shot muzzle loading examples from before the Civil War, plus pieces made by Remington, Starr, Freeman, Allen & Wheelock, Pond and Smith & Wesson. Museum officials believe this is the largest diversity of Civil War handguns ever exhibited at one time in the region.

The second display is a large collection of U.S. military insignia dating from the 1830s to the 1920s.  It includes examples used by various branches of service such as Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry, Air Corps, Signal Corps, Quartermaster, Pay Department and many others. More than 600 different pieces of U.S. military insignia will be exhibited over the weekend. Learn about the various designs used to signify the branches of service and how those designs changed through time. This special exhibit will only be on display Father’s Day Weekend!  

It will be a great start to the museum’s summer activity schedule. We hope to see you there!

Fort Walla Walla Days is included with the price of Museum admission, which is $8 general admission,  $7 for seniors (62+) and students, $3 for children ages 6-12, and free for Museum Members and children under 6.

Fort Walla Walla Days is sponsored by Columbia REA, Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, Pacific Power, and the Port of Walla Walla.

Are you interested in sponsoring this event? Contact the Museum to find out how!