Cowlitz Encounters

Do you know what a Shay locomotive sounds like? Or a Mikado? Have you ever seen film footage of the 1933, 1948, and 1996 floods? Or of men and women working in the Longview Fibre and Weyerhaeuser mills? Do you recognize the smell of cedar? Would you like to hear a pioneer family story? Would you like to see hundreds of items relating to Cowlitz County history including Hulda Klager’s dress and a teacup that survived the 1902 Yacolt fire?

​Yes, all of these can be seen in Cowlitz Encounters, the museum’s new long-term exhibit.

Past Exhibits

Vestiges of the Iron Curtain:
East Germany’s Legacy in Black and White

Hans Schaufus, retired Longview Public Library employee, artist, community advocate, and photographer shot many black-and-white photographs featuring landscape and architectural remnants from East Germany during multiple visits between 2006 and 2014. This remarkable collection of images shows in raw detail the lasting impacts of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) decades after reunification in 1990.  In September 1961 Hans was among 100,000 Army reservists called to active duty for the Berlin Crisis. Although his unit wasn’t sent to Berlin, he decided to visit Berlin in the fall of 1963. Having spent many hours tramping around the walled off Eastern Sector he was awed by the bleak landscape, much of it left over ruins from World War II. This exhibit was on display from late January 2022 to March 2022.

Memories of a Lost Landscape:
Spirit Lake Before the Eruption

Spirit Lake was enjoyed by many as a special place to camp, hike, fish, climb, ski, and embrace the majestic beauty in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. This treasured landscape was created when the Toutle River was dammed by an eruption about 3,000 years ago. This ephemeral landscape was changed again on May 18, 1980, with the massive eruption at Mount St. Helens. This exhibit showed what recreational life was like prior to 1980 using objects from the museum’s collection, archival images, and audio and video recordings of camp life at the lake.  Some unique artifacts on display include Harry Truman’s hat, which was traded with local resident Jim Zonich just weeks prior to the eruption. This exhibit was on display from May 2020 to early January 2022.

Mt. St. Helens before 1980

Cowlitz County Suffrage Movement

Votes for Women: Celebrating a Century of Women’s Suffrage – This exhibit featured local, regional, and national suffrage movements during the times prior to and leading up to Universal Suffrage, its impact on future generations, and the Suffrage Movement’s relationship to other movements related to civil rights and liberties. Using artifacts and archival materials of the era in our collections to illustrate the world of the nineteen-teens and before, visitors gained a better understanding of the world and society of a century ago. This exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the Washington State Historical Society and was on display from August 2019 until early May 2020.

August 30, 2019
The Daily News New Cowlitz Museum exhibit highlights local suffragettes

The Great War: A Cowlitz County Centennial Reflection (on display fall 2017 – summer 2019)

Using artifacts and photos from our collection, loans from museums, and items from private collectors in Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, and Yakima, the exhibit attracted many visitors. The WWI poster collection displayed some extraordinary art from that time reflecting both social and military thoughts of the era.

November 15, 2017
The Daily NewsNew Historical Museum exhibit explores Cowlitz County’s WWI contributions

Victory Garden – 2018

A partnership between WSU Master Gardeners and Cowlitz County Historical Museum.

​Vegetables grown included corn, beans, squash (various varieties), tomatoes, and peppers, which produced over 117 pounds of food for the local food bank!