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Pieces of History: An Artifacts Timeline — Dedication Planned


Camas-Washougal, WA – Two Rivers Heritage Museum (TRHM) and Clark County Historical Museum (CCHM) partnered to create an historical outdoor timeline exhibit that represents Camas and Washougal history and highlights the artifacts cared for at TRHM. “Pieces of History: An Artifacts Timeline,” is filled with stories and images recounting monumental moments and everyday events in these neighboring communities. The timeline can be viewed at the TRHM at 1 Durgan Street in downtown Washougal, Saturdays from 11am-3pm.

CCHM Public Historian, Katie Bush, served as the project manager for this work. She collaborated with TRHM Display Committee members Karen and Richard Johnson and Gayle and Ivar Godtlibsen, to research and select important historic information to be featured.

“Katie provided a long list of items and dates she identified from our collection and had us rate their importance to the timeline,” Karen Johnson explained.  “We whittled that list down over and over again. It was a difficult process to narrow the information with so many fascinating stories to tell.”

After repeated and thoughtful analysis, the final historic events and dates were decided.  The team then worked to identify exactly what object from TRHM archives would represent the timeline captions. “Selected events are memorable, personal and unique to the local community and represent major, minor, and micro moments in our history,” Karen Johnson explained.


Local photographer, Missy Fant, captured images of each object and Vancouver graphic designer, Masako Brachmann married together these elements into the sprawling timeline that stands 34-feet long along the back fence of the museum.  “The panel design and style match the historic street panels in Historic Downtown Camas,” said Karen Johnson.  “We are trying to stay consistent with historical signage for our cities.” 

“I’m excited to be a part of this collaborative timeline for the Two Rivers Heritage Museum,” said Bush.  “Community centered projects, such as this, offer great opportunities for heritage institutions to share local stories in engaging ways. I look forward to collaborating with Two Rivers and the Camas-Washougal community on future projects.”

While the building is in Washougal, TRHM represents two cities. “I would say our museum collection is divided pretty evenly between Camas and Washougal artifacts, photos, research, and archives,” said Karen Johnson.  “Our two towns, with totally different beginnings, melded into one awesome community.”

When asked which featured timeline events were most significant to the growth of the community the answers varied. Gayle Godtlibsen feels it was the year 1905 when the SP&S Railroad began operation on the north bank of the Columbia River.  “We hope that visitors come away from the timeline inspired to share their experience with others and, hopefully, that will help create more traffic to the museum,” she said. 

Richard Johnson identified 1886 and the start of the Camas papermill as the most impactful year. “I feel interacting with the timeline exhibit is the grand finale to a visit to the museum,” he said.  “I want people to feel they had a ‘complete’ experience here.”

The timeline creation and installation were completed by a team of dedicated people. TRHM Display Committee members Karen and Richard Johnson and Gayle and Ivar Godtlibsen; Masako Brachmann, graphic design; Katie Bush, CCHM public historian; Kevin and Curtis Barber of Core Powersports; Missy Fant Photography; J2 Blueprinting printed the panels; local historian Pepper Kim was editor and proofreader for the timeline narrative; John Kimbrough designed and fabricated timeline stand and helped with installation; Tommy Miller of Pomeroy Living History Farm helped with installation; and Bradley Richardson, Executive Director of CCHM helped on many aspects of the project. 

“Over the past six years, Two Rivers and the Clark County Historical Museum have fostered a deep and mutually beneficial relationship,” Richardson, a Camas-Washougal area native, said. “Through this project and other collaborative work, our organizations are demonstrating how communities are better served and more history is shared and saved when we come together.”

Funding for the timeline came from generous donations from the Tidland Family, Beales Foundation, and the Smead Family, who made their gift in memory of longtime teacher and historian Bernice Pluchos.

The new exhibit will be dedicated at a ceremony on Friday, May 31 at 5 pm at the Two Rivers Heritage Museum.  City leaders, museum volunteers, staff, historical society members and community history lovers are invited to attend.  It can also be viewed any Saturday during regular museum hours from 11 am-3 pm.

“We are extremely proud of what we have created at Two Rivers,” said Dick Lindstrom, CWHS president. “Its purpose is to collect, research and preserve the history that tells the story of the development of the Camas/Washougal area.  We invite our community to take the time to experience what a treasure this place is.  And if people like what they see, we hope they become a member of CWHS or a volunteer to help us continue to tell the stories of our communities.”

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