We keep track of our past events here.
Mrs. Miner, Walla Walla’s first schoolteacher, opened a private school in a store building on Main Street in the winter of 1861-62. She was then given a certificate, and on June 16, 1862 began the first public school classes in Walla Walla. She was described as “a lovely, cultured woman, who had the finest house plants in town.”
Sarah Miner is portrayed by Allison VanOcker.
Fred Stine represents one of Walla Walla's best “rags to riches” stories. He arrived in Walla Walla in 1862 with no more than the clothes on his back and 75 cents in his pocket, but he eventually built the largest brick hotel in the Washington Territory. After Stine’s arrival, he quickly went about earning the trust of local residents who lent him sufficient funds to set up a lucrative blacksmith shop serving the needs of miners making their way to Idaho’s gold fields, pioneers from the Oregon Trail, and the military at Fort Walla Walla. With the fortune he made, Stine not only retired his debts in a few short months but soon amassed enough to construct the Stine House in 1872, the largest brick hotel in the region.
Fred Stine is portrayed by Touchet agribusinessman Charles Saranto.
In 1853, William Hurst Rockfellow was the wagon master of a wagon train headed to southern Oregon near the present day city of Talent. He came north during the Gold Rush days in eastern Walla Walla County and operated the Rockfellow & Co. Pony Express, which ran between Walla Walla and the Boise Gold Basin in Idaho. While working as a prospector in Oregon, he, his brother Alfred, and three other Jackson County, Oregon friends discovered the famous Rockfellow ledge of gold, now known as the Virtue Mine. He and his partners set up their stamp mill to extract the ore on Powder River, and eventually Baker City grew up around it. Meanwhile, William’s wife operated a boarding house in Walla Walla. One of his daughters, Alice, married Harvey Meacham, who owned the Meacham toll road that ran between Idaho and Oregon and a hotel near the summit of the Blue Mountains between La Grande and Pendleton, Oregon.
William Rockfellow is portrayed by his great grandson, Dick Phillips.
Rev. James H. Wilbur was a pioneer Methodist preacher, teacher, and Indian agent. “Father Wilbur,” as he was most often called, will focus on his 22 years of work on the Yakama Indian Reservation at Ft. Simcoe. Originally assigned and hired by the Indian agent to begin a school there, he twice complained in person to President Lincoln about treatment of tribal members by Indian agents and their cronies. During his second visit to Washington, D.C. in 1864, Lincoln appointed him Indian agent, a role he kept for most of the next eighteen years.
Wilbur’s new presentation will reflect on more recent news he has learned from a conversation with a professor of cultural anthropology – a field that did not exist in Wilbur’s time. He has also learned of an official apology written two decades ago by church leaders, which acknowledged damage done by missionaries in destroying tribal cultures.
James Wilbur is portrayed by Chuck Hindman.
Ron Williams is a veteran of the Walla Walla tourism, arts, and wine industries. He became the new Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla in July of 2016 and is excited about continuing the promotion of the arts, wine, and culture of this region.
In 1862 Mrs. Whitman came to Walla Walla to join her husband E.B. Whitman, who had been recently elected as the city’s first mayor. She was born in Portland, Maine, in 1828, the daughter of a lawyer, and was educated in the Boston area where she met her future husband. The couple married and had two sons. In 1850 Mr. Whitman traveled west to seek his fortune in the California gold fields. Mrs. Whitman remained in Boston to raise her children until E. B. had chosen a new location for the family. After 12 years, the couple reunited in Walla Walla where they were active in civic affairs and resided for the rest of their lives. Mrs. Whitman will share music of her time with Museum visitors.
Walla Walla in the 1860s was a boom town with a wide range of adventures available – vigilantes, rough and tumble fights, midnight hangings, and many people stopping for supplies as they passed through on their way to the gold fields in Idaho's Orofino and Boise Basin. E.B. Whitman, first mayor of Walla Walla, can tell you of those times. After marrying and having two sons in Boston, Whitman left for California to seek his fortune in the gold fields in 1850. Twelve years later, he reunited with Maria in Walla Walla, where his cousin Marcus had lived. He was elected several times as mayor of Walla Walla and was prominent in the community throughout the rough and violent times of the mid-1860s. Over the years he served as sheriff, justice of the peace, and clerk of the school board, as well as in other positions.
E.B.Whitman, true to his public-spirited character, is restored to life by local attorney and civic activist Daniel Clark.
Henry Harmon Spalding was born in Bath, NY in 1803. He was a lifelong active member of the Presbyterian Church. He developed a desire to become a missionary along with his wife-to-be, Eliza Hart. After attending Case Western Reserve University in 1833, he married his former “pen-pal,” Eliza Hart and enrolled in Lane Theological Seminary.
Anxious to begin their missionary work, the couple left the seminary in 1836. They were eventually persuaded by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman to join them in the field with the (Native American) Indians of the Pacific Northwest. This decision led them by November 1836 to the home of the Nez Perce at Lapwai, near what is now Lewiston, Idaho. Here they established their mission home. Along with the Whitmans, Henry and Eliza were the first Americans to drive a wagon across the Western Plains. Lapwai was the location of the first print press on the West Coast, acquired in 1839. It was also the location of the first translation printed of the Nez Perce language.
Henry and Eliza’s daughter, Eliza, was an eye witness to the Whitman Massacre. Henry nearly lost his life in an effort to rescue his daughter.
Enjoy a day of free admission to the Museum! Our Open House is a chance for local residents to come by and see what is new at the old fort. There will be volunteers with information about the Museum, membership opportunities, and booths manned by other local not-for-profit and heritage organizations.
Charles W. Phillips, portrayed by his grandson Dick Phillips, will be talking about his involvement with the conception of two major Walla Walla parks. His interest in flora and landscaping was instilled in him by his mother, whose roses and beautiful yard were commented on in the August 31, 1866 Walla Walla Statesman. The City and Dreamland Parks (now Pioneer and Jefferson
Parks, respectively) are still an integral part of the tapestry of this area.
Bob Carson is a Professor at Whitman College in the Environmental Studies Program. He is particularly interested in resources, pollution, forests and the oceans.
From March 29 to April 12, Museum visitors may notice some unusual details hidden in our regular displays. Perhaps a hat on a mule? Or maybe some modern appliances in the pioneer village? It can only mean one thing—April Fools Scavenger Hunt!
For anyone who has volunteered with us before or is thinking of becoming a Museum volunteer, the Volunteer Orientation and Welcome is Wednesday, March 22 at 10 am in the Grand Hall. We are in need of new volunteers to lead tours, assist during special events, help out in the Museum Store, welcome Museum visitors, or join our Living History Company! Volunteers are essential to our mission. We hope to see you there!
Fort Walla Walla Museum is happy to welcome back Mike Denny to speak with us about Historical Natural History books of the Pacific Northwest.
Stories are the foundation of museums, doors to learning from the past. Join Helen Heavirland, writing instructor and award-winning author of four memoirs, as we explore: Why your stories are important, how to get started writing (or telling) them and make it as easy as possible and how to engage readers and make a difference in their lives.
Fort Walla Walla Museum Collections Manager Laura Schulz will be talking about the Museum's collection of digitized images and touching upon the methods used to date some vintage postcards of formerly unknown provenience.
This presentation by Steve Stevenson will emphasize buildings that comprised the fort, their uses then, and buildings that are remnants of the fort that are still being used by the VA Medical Center.
“A 19th Century Party! Looking Forward from the Past” will be played by the full Living History Company, 2 p.m. Sunday October 30th at Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road.
FWWM’s Heritage Research Services Division has been conducting a variety of compliance archaeology projects in and out of Walla Walla for the past year. This talk will highlight the work the division has been doing and present some results. Topics include but are not limited to urban archaeology with the City of Spokane and its Riverfront Park and the City of College Place and its Kiwanis Park.
In honor of Archaeology Awareness Month, Fort Walla Walla Museum will be presenting a camp for children to have hands-on experience “working” as archaeologists. This day camp will be led by our on-staff historical archaeologist Ashley Morton. The participants of the camp will get practical experience surveying, mapping and identifying artifacts. This is an exciting opportunity to show eager young minds how we learn about our past from the cultural artifacts that are recorded and analyzed by professional archaeologists.
Fort Walla Walla Museum is proud to host a new exhibit of works by the Sisters in Art Society and watercolors made by students from the watercolor class previously held at the museum.
All of the work included in the show will feature artifacts from the museum and regional geography as subject matter.
The exhibit is curated by local artist Joyce Anderson and will be on display from October 2 through November 30, 2016.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and that applies to many of the acquisition stories connected to the collections at Fort Walla Walla Museum. Join James Payne as he recalls some of the most improbable circumstances that have led the Museum's most treasured artifacts to their current home here at the Museum.
Living History will escort Walla Walla Historic Auto Club from McCool Cemetery to the Poor House Cemetery where they and then on to Fort Walla Walla Cemetery.
If you are interested in attending please contact our Program Manager, Abigail Scholar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fort Walla Walla Museum is happy to welcome back the American Truck Historical Society for a large scale car show. Organized by the Blue Mountain Chapter, we anticipate a great turn out of vehicles and visitors alike. If you have a truck or just love to learn about trucks please join us on Saturday, September 19 for this special day.
Plateau Indian Battles of 1858 present by Mahlon Kriebel, author and neurophysiologist
The Ice Cream Social celebrates a time when the days passed by at a slower pace and the local community came together to enjoy the lazy days of summer, so bring your family and friends for a day of wholesome family fun. Come on down and spend the day with us at the old fort!
Presented by Tim Copeland, Executive Director of the Blue Mountain Land Trust.
Let kids see, learn, and explore at the Museum this summer with the Pioneer Kids Camp! This fun and educational day camp features guided activity stations that allow children ages 9 through 11 to experience life the pioneer way.
Pioneer Kids Camp is sponsored in part by Coffey Communications.
This Introduction to Drawing class will be led by local artist Elizabeth Harris. Geared towards students aged 9 - 11, this class will focus on drawing the on-site Living History performer on the day of the class as well as artifacts on display at the Museum.