Native American exhibit opens at PCC Rock Creek
"This IS Kalapuyan Land" — the newest exhibit at the Washington County Museum — opened this past week and already is turning heads.
Just off the PCC Rock Campus, the museum has used its limited programming space and transformed it into a place where residents can spend an afternoon carching up on Native American history of the area while also learning about what Native American artists are up to today.
Guest curator Stephanie Littlebird Fogel designed and refreshed the longtime exhibit on the indigenous Kalapuya people, and the museum's co-director Molly Alloy couldn't be happier.
"It felt it needed an update," Alloy said. "The perspective of the museum has changed. We want descendant communities to tell their own stories. That is one major reason we have the guest curator program. Steph really spent time with the panels where it now feels like they are her artwork."
At opening night, on Thursday, Aug. 15, museum members and dozens of people came to celebrate alongside Alloy, Fogel and staff.
Earlier this summer, Alloy approached Fogel about taking exhibit panels created years ago for the museum that showcased the history of the Kalapuyan people alongside basket art and other artifacts and give it new life.
Fogel took months to correct and sometimes rewrite whole sections to present a narrative closer to the historical record, she told the News-Times in an article last week.
"A lot of the original content is retained, but she has added visual components to give it new life, where you can tell new energy has been put into it," Alloy said. "She has added text, struck out some language that isn't considered factual anymore."
Among the panels are contemporary art pieces by several Native artists from around the country who have a connection and relationship to the land in and around Washington County. Fogel asked artists to bring their work to be a part of the exhibit in an open call, Alloy said. One of the focal points, in the center of the room, is an interactive computer game geared toward younger audiences.
"Steph's emphasis throughout the entire show is about Native people living and thriving today," Alloy said. "Having the contemporary objects do this — they indicate that Native people are not one type of person."
"This IS Kalapuyan Land" will be on display through summer 2020.
"People who live in this area feel a strong bond here, whether they have relocated, recently a lifetime ago or they were born here," Alloy said. "It is a beautiful area, culturally and physically, and to me, you couldn't feel that and miss an opportunity to understand this part of history and current
culture. It will be an enhancement to someone's sense of place."
For more information, visit washingtoncountymuseum.org
IF YOU GO
What: "This IS Kalapuyan Land" exhibit
Where: Washington County Museum, 17677 N.W. Springville Road, on the PCC Rock Creek campus
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15. Museum hours, noon-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Cost: Adults (18+) $5, youth (13-17) $3; free for members, children age 12 and under, people with PCC ID, SNAP, WIC cards
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