Exhibit looks at putting Vancouver on the map

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter



If you go

What: “Mapping Clark County” First Thursday event

Where: Clark County Historical Museum, 1511 Main St.

When: 5 p.m. Thursday.

Admission: $4 adults, $3 seniors/students, $2 children, $10 families; members free.

Surveying instruments that helped lay out one of the Northwest’s most historic properties — Vancouver Barracks — will be part of a new display starting Thursday at the Clark County Historical Museum.

The museum, 1511 Main St., will open its new “Mapping Clark County” exhibit with a 5 p.m. reception as part of its monthly “First Thursday” series.

At 7 p.m., Jerry Olson will discuss “Surveying and Mapping North of the River.” Olson is president of Olson Engineering in Vancouver and a history enthusiast. He is the author of “Surveying North of the River,” which documents the surveyors associated with the Washington Surveyor General’s Office from 1851 to 1910, when work was done on a contract basis. (An e-book version is available at no cost by contacting Olson at wcrolsons@tds.net).

Olson’s presentation will go back to 1792, when Lt. William Broughton named a piece of Columbia River shoreline after his commanding officer, Capt. George Vancouver.

The “Mapping Clark County” exhibit will be on display through June. It will feature maps and aerial photographs of the county from 1854 to 2000. Instruments used by C.C. Redman to survey the Vancouver Barracks site a job he completed in 1851 include a transit and a compass.

The exhibit will include a tribute to Phil Arnold, the longtime Vancouver mapmaker who died on Jan. 14 at age 96. His family has lended several maps and items from his upstairs office in the Arnolds’ home.

The museum’s “First Thursday After Hours” presentations are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, from February through November.

There is a change this year in admission policy: “First Thursday” events no longer are free to the public, and standard admission fees will apply.

The museum made the change for financial reasons, museum Director Susan Tissot said. It’s also a way to encourage people to become members of the Clark County Historical Society; society members get free admission to First Thursday events.