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Meet Isabella Potts Kirkman, the girl who grew up on a flax farm in Ballybay, Ireland and traveled to America to join her sisters in California. Was she an indentured servant? A mail order bride? Isabella will tell all: her humble origins in Ireland, her journey to the New World--even a family scandal! In 1867 she married William Kirkman—the cattleman, farmer and entrepreneur. She’ll share her struggles in the rough and tumble mining towns of Idaho, where William continued his interest in the cattle business until they moved to Walla Walla. Isabella will recount incidents of her life as a society matron here, where with the help of her Chinese domestic, she and William raised their children and entertained the Who’s Who of Walla Walla. Her home is now known as Kirkman House Museum, an elegant brick home built in the Italianate Victorian style.
Isabella Kirkman is portrayed by Kirkman House Board Member Susan Monahan.
Matilda Sager Delaney, born in 1839, was a survivor of the Whitman Massacre at Waiilatpu Mission, located seven miles west of present day Walla Walla. She and her six siblings were taken in by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman in the autumn of 1844, as both Sager parents had died on the Oregon Trail that summer. On November 29, 1847, her life with the Whitmans came to an end. Matilda witnessed the massacre first-hand, including the murder of her brother, Frank, before her very eyes. She was one of nearly 50 taken captive by the Cayuse and ransomed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in January 1848. Though transported to safety in the Willamette Valley, her twice-orphaned life became one of hardship. Matilda was separated from her three surviving sisters and placed in the home of a brutal disciplinarian at age eight. She married at age 15 and moved to northern California to ranch with her first husband, Lewis M. Hazlitt. Hazlitt died in 1863, leaving Matilda with five young children. She married Hazlitt’s business partner, Matthew Fultz, in 1866 and had three more children. Matthew and Matilda moved to Farmington, Washington, in 1882 and established several businesses there, but Matthew died the following year. In 1890 Matilda was married for the final time to David Delaney of Farmington. She a handful of other survivors were present at the semi-centennial observance of the Whitman Massacre, conducted in Walla Walla and at the Waiilatpu Mission site, in November 1897.
Matilda Sager Delaney is portrayed by Living History newcomer Susan Matley.
On Friday, May 10 the museum has partnered with Walla Walla Public Schools to present Dia del Niño/Day of the Child. This theme is celebrated internationally to honor the children who represent the hopes and future of every community. This will be a free day of music, dancing, community booths, bouncy castle, games and children’s activities. The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Museum admission is free and open to the community courtesy of sponsor Community Bank.
Andrew Pambrun was born at Cumberland House near the mouth of the Sasketchewan River in 1821. He attended school at Fort Vancouver in 1832 and then at Red River School in Manitoba where he stayed and taught for six years. Andrew returned to Oregon in 1850 and later worked for Hudson's Bay Co. at Fort Walla Walla. From 1855 to 1858 he served as an aide to territorial governor Isaac Stevens and was of great service during the negotiation of the Treaties of 1855. Pambrun continued to live in the Walla Walla area until his death.
Andrew is portrayed by his great grandson, Sam Pambrun, local historian, teacher and past president of the Umatilla Historical Society. The Pambrun family has lived in this area continuously since the 1830s.
James McAuliff came to the Walla Walla valley at the end of the Mexican-American war. For valor shown in the 1855 Battle of Walla Walla, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Oregon Volunteers. A successful merchant, farmer, and sawmill owner, he was elected mayor eleven times and became known as the town's most beloved citizen. In the years surrounding the vigilante activity in Walla Walla, he served as sheriff and member of the territorial legislature.
James McAuliff is portrayed by Clark Colahan.
Herbert Niccolls, Jr. was the youngest inmate ever incarcerated at the Washington State Penitentiary. He was born into a troubled family, witnessed his father kill a neighbor lady, caused problems in foster homes, and was sentenced to the Idaho State Industrial School. When his grandmother gained custody, she often beat him and deprived him of food "because of his sins.”
At age 12, the boy ran away from her home wearing ragged overalls and a stolen gun. Cold and hungry that night, he broke into a local store to steal cigarettes, gum, and cash. When the local sheriff discovered his hiding place behind a cabinet and called him out, his blindly-aimed shot killed the beloved lawman almost instantly.
What followed was a drama that would gain national attention, including a campaign supported by Father Flanagan of Boys Town who declared “There’s no such thing as a bad boy.” His story included years in the penitentiary, a diploma from Walla Walla High School, and an eventual career as an accounting executive for Twentieth Century Fox.
The aging Mr. Niccolls will be portrayed by Chuck Hindman.
In this Museum After Hours presentation, former FWWM intern Sullivan Friebus, a history major at Whitman College, will discuss psychological warfare of the Pacific Ocean theater during World War II.
During Sullivan’s internship, the museum received an assortment of documents and photographs that detailed the struggles and victories of the Allied forces in the Pacific theater. These documents, collected by World War II veteran and Walla Walla local Donald A. Anderson, include examples of propaganda utilized by both the Allied and Axis powers. The psychological tactics developed in the U.S. campaign against Japan sought to undermine the morale of the Japanese soldiers, encourage them to surrender, and ultimately prevent American casualties. At first primarily targeting individual soldiers or units, psychological warfare would eventually attempt to influence the unconditional surrender of Japan itself.
Sullivan Friebus will share his research and talk about the lessons learned from the use of psychological warfare, which are relevant in a world where foreign and domestic organizations continue to mobilize propaganda within the United States.
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.
Enjoy a day of free admission to the museum! Our Open House is a chance for local residents to come see what’s new at the old fort. With five exhibit halls and a 17-structure pioneer settlement, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Learn about the territorial prison, horse-era agricultural practices, the history of the Forts Walla Walla, and more.
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.
From April 1—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!
Museum-goers will have a chance to meet Shannon Buchal, the new collections manager of Fort Walla Walla Museum! In this Museum After Hours presentation, Shannon will talk about fakes, forgeries, and replicas from a museum perspective. She will explore some famous forgeries displayed in museums and discuss the use of replicas and reproductions in museum work, including some standing in for actual artifacts at the old fort. In addition, she will look at how the outstanding stories behind some of these counterfeit items make them notable artifacts worthy of display.
Note that this presentation will begin at 5 pm in the museum’s entrance building.
Have you ever been interested in volunteering at the Museum? Do you like working with people? Are you a behind-the-scenes sort of person? Whatever your interest or skill level, we have a job for you! Come to the museum at 10 am to learn about how you can become a part of our team. We are looking for individuals to tackle all kinds of tasks, from gardening and leading tours to exhibit work and research. Come on by, and bring a friend!
Native Walla Wallan Catie McIntyre Walker will be discussing her popular new book, Lost Restaurants of Walla Walla, which celebrates the decades of departed, beloved local establishments. Published in August of 2018, the book explores how dining in Walla Walla blossomed from an influx of mining transplants in the late 1800s. Within decades, a roadhouse called the Oasis boasted a seventy-two ounce slab of beef, and the old Pastime Cafe opened at 5:30 am with white toast and whisky for breakfast. In the early 1950s, Ysidro Berrones opened one of the valley’s first Mexican restaurants, the El Sombrero Tortilla Factory and Cafe. Joe Denney, owner of Denney’s Hi-Spot for two decades, also satisfied locals with his morning crooning to piano on KTEL. Bring your appetite for history, as Catie McIntyre Walker will share these stories and more during this Museum After Hours presentation. Copies of her book are available for sale in the Museum Store.
Bob Carson will be discussing his new book, THE BLUES: Natural history of the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington, published in November of 2018. Bob Carson will be discussing his new book, THE BLUES: Natural history of the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington, published in November of 2018. The geology of the Blue Mountains is quite complex; while mostly underlain by young basalt flows, they are also composed of much older rocks that reveal hundreds of millions of years of earth’s history. Atop the Blues is a rare grass-tree mosaic, a mix of dense forests and wildflower meadows. Duane Scroggins, Bill Rodgers, and many others provided hundreds of excellent photographs for the book.
If you have lived in Walla Walla for any length of time, you have heard the distant horn of diesel locomotives as they go about their switching chores. The sound usually echoes off the buildings and greets the early risers. But…did you know that engines have been making that sound with whistles, horns, and bells for the past 143 years? The stretch of railroad from Walla Walla to Wallula is the oldest point-to-point rail operation in the State of Washington.
In this Museum After Hours presentation Gary Lentz portrays William Tye, a conductor on the Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad, who offers a visual presentation on the history of the railroad from a railroad employee’s point of view. The talk will discuss the people who built their dreams, cleared the right-of-way, laid the track, and operated the engines and trains that helped build Walla Walla into the town it is today.
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. Please note that due to the Museum's winter hours, the presentation will begin at 4 pm.
This event will be held at Whitman College Reid Center, 280 Boyer Ave.
Fort Walla Walla Museum will be joining many local non-profit and service organizations at the 4th Annual Walla Walla Alternative Gift Fair. This is a wonderful event for locals to come support the charitable organizations that do so much for the community. There will be live music, a bake sale, hot beverages, and craft activities. It is the season for giving, so come make a donation to any of your favorite non-profits on behalf of someone special in your life!
You may have seen James Payne, Executive Director of Fort Walla Walla Museum, giving flintknapping demonstrations during events. This is an early form of tool production that takes a practiced hand to replicate.
For this Museum After Hours presentation, he will be going deeper into the production of this lithic (Stone Age) toolmaking, specifically technology during the Ice Age. During his graduate research he investigated methods of lithic tool production techniques, refitting some of the 11,000 pieces of stone debris from a workshop in northern Maine. This revealed both a technology with parallels to the Upper Paleolithic of Europe and a caution on interpretations derived from experimental archaeology.
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. Please note that due to the Museum's winter hours, the presentation will begin at 4 pm.
Join us at Fort Walla Walla Museum for an evening of guitar music and discussion. Local musicians Dean Morrison, Myron Huie, Richard Monacelli, and Barbara Clark are bringing history to life with the help of their vintage guitars: Morrison owns a 1918 Gibson, Huie a 1919 Gibson, Monacelli a 1923 Gibson, and Clark a 1929 Martin. The quartet will talk guitars, what makes these specific models special, the evolution of “The Gibson” over the years, and the timeless and universal language of music.
Songs will be performed from the eras when the guitars were each produced, and contemporary pieces will also be explored on these, and other, beautiful vintage instruments. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Jimmye Turner on a National dobro, Glenn Morrison on bass, Nancy Monacelli on vocals and guitar, and Heather Huie on violin.
The musicians will also bring some of the more interesting American-made guitars from their collections for display, including a 1952 ES-175 Gibson, a 1955 Les Paul Special, a 1964 Gibson EB-0 bass, a 1968 Gibson SG Custom, a 1969 Gretsch Country Gentleman, a 1971 Gibson Hummingbird, a Washburn jazz guitar, and more!
Admission at the door is $7 general / $5 museum members. Light refreshments will be available.
The World War II Memorial committee will be hosting a dedication ceremony on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11 at 2:00 pm. The first portion of the ceremony will be conducted in the grand hall of Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road. If weather permits, the rest of the ceremony will take place outside the museum’s front entrance at the site of the new monument. Reception to follow at the museum. This event is free to the community.
As another year passes, our Living History Company will end the 2018 season with their annual 19th Century Party.
This year, a number of performers will take you on a chronological journey from the days of the fur trade and early exploration of this region through the influx of emigrant pioneers heading West along the Oregon Trail, through the boomtown years of 1860s Walla Walla and beyond.
Each performer will help create a timeline that will put the region’s history in perspective. Performers will include Sgt. Patrick Gass, William McBean, Fred Stine, Leoti West, Hen Lee, Victor Phillips, James McAuliff, Lettice Millican Clark Reynolds, Colonel Michael McCarthy, Annie Shoemaker, William Kirkman, and others.
The festivities will commence at 2 pm on Sunday, October 28, in the Museum’s Grand Hall, and will mark the end of the 2018 Living History season. Refreshments will be served.
Bob Freeman has done it all: a Navy veteran, retired psychologist, education director and associate superintendent at the Washington State Penitentiary, published author, classic car enthusiast, and artist. Over the past 70 years, Bob has explored mixed media and found object sculpture. His subjects range from realistic interpretations to fantastic and abstract creations. He’s depicted animals (both real and imagined) landscapes, figures, motifs from petroglyphs, and more. In this presentation he will discuss and show his impressive body of work and talk about the materials he has used to create these fantastic pieces of art.
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. The presentation will begin at 5 pm in the Museum's Entrance Building.
Richard Bogle was born in Jamaica in 1835 where his parents were slaves. When he was 12 years old, he stowed away on a ship to New York during an anti-slavery campaign, and traveled to Oregon with a wagon train at age 16. When he was 22, he opened a restaurant and barbershop in Deadwood, California, where he also did some gold mining. On January 1, 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln, Bogle married America Waldo. The couple moved to Walla Walla, where he opened a fashionable barber shop. They had eight children and owned a 200-acre farm near Dixie.
Richard Bogle is portrayed by Earl Gooding Jr.
Catholic missionary Eugene Casimir Chirouse traveled from his native France to Oregon Territory with four missionary oblates and arrived at Fort Walla Walla on October 5, 1847—only a month before the killings at the Whitman Mission. The Catholic fathers and missionaries were now called upon to be peacemakers.
Chirouse was ordained at Hudson's Bay Company Fort Walla Walla on January 2, 1848, the first Catholic ordination in what would become the state of Washington.
In 1853, Fr. Chirouse founded the St. Rose of the Cayouse mission at the mouth of Yellowhawk Creek, where Governor Isaac Stevens met him on his way from the east through the Walla Walla Valley to assume his duties in Olympia. Chirouse was also present at the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855 conducted by Stevens.
At the end of 1856, during the Indian Wars, he was transferred to the Puget Sound area, where he lived and worked for most of the rest of his life, dying in British Columbia in 1892.
Eugene Chirouse is portrayed by Jean-Paul Grimaud.
Local viticulturist/winemaker/master distiller Rusty Figgins portrays his maternal grandfather, Francesco Antonio “Frank” Leonetti, during Columbus Day weekend. The performance will take place at 2 pm in the Pioneer Village, and an educational, interpretive tour of the small vineyard will immediately follow.
Born 1880 in Serra Pedace, Cosenza Province in the Calabria region of southern Italy, Leonetti immigrated to Walla Walla in 1901, when he was twenty-one. He married Rose Fazzari in 1905. A truck gardener, Leonetti made room in his vegetable fields for an acre of Black Prince grapes, from which he made wine for family use.
The destruction of Leonetti’s beloved vines in the infamous ‘Black Frost’ of 1955 is said to have broken his heart and is believed to have contributed to his death shortly thereafter. Frank Leonetti’s passion inspired his descendants to grow grapes and make wine commercially. His namesake winery, Leonetti Cellar, is notable for creating fine wine for the past forty years. Figgins as Frank Leonetti explains the history of viticulture in the Walla Walla Valley and the Italian-American contribution to area grape cultivation and winemaking.
Planted under Figgins’ direction in 1995, Fort Walla Walla Museum’s vineyard features Black Prince grapevines of the kind grown by Frank Leonetti. The Black Prince variety, brought here by train from a plant nursery in Sacramento, California, was discovered by Figgins to be genetically identical to Cinsault, a variety that is prominent in the southern Rhône and Provence in France. Black Prince grapevines are known for their ability to withstand hot, dry climates, and are known for use as both a table and wine grape. Black Prince produces light- to medium-bodied red and rosé wines, and as Cinsault, has enjoyed a renaissance in the Walla Walla Valley, where plantings have increased owing in large part to Figgins’ influence and the industry’s interest in Rhône Valley grape varieties.
The vineyard at Fort Walla Walla is one of the Museum's horticultural displays in support of its Italian Farmstead exhibit in the pioneer village. Unlike most modern grapevines that are trained laterally on wire trellises, the museum's Black Prince employ a method common in the 1800s where a free-standing vine is head-trained, that is, grown on a single, vertical stake. Pruning the grapevines in the form of an open basket or goblet allows more sunlight to penetrate and promote the ripening of the grapes. In recent years, students of Walla Walla Community College’s Institute for Enology & Viticulture program have pruned the vines.
A basket weaving workshop will be taught in the Grand Hall at Fort Walla Walla Museum. The instructor will be Maribeth Bergstrom.
Students will create a round reed basket. Round reed and flat reed for weaving the main body of the basket will be available in natural blond. Reed dyed in other colors will be available for contrast weaves.
It will take most students the entire four hours to complete a basket. Some students may finish earlier, some will take a little longer. Students should expect to stay for the duration of the class for instruction and assistance.
Some of the reeds are lightly dyed. It is possible (but unlikely) that some of the nontoxic dye would temporarily discolor light clothing or hands. This is temporary, but people concerned may bring and wear waterproof gloves. Participants should wear older clothing and bring an old towel that can be placed across the lap to absorb any dampness from the wet reed.
The cost for this workshop is $25 for members of Fort Walla Walla Museum, and $30 for non-members. It is recommended for adult and senior participants; the minimum recommended age for participation is 14 years.