Yakima Valley Museum

Voices From the Past


VoicesThe museum is continuing its successful Voices From the Past lunchtime lecture series. Bring your lunch and join us at the museum for a midweek break that will educate and entertain. Soft drinks and water will be provided. All programs are free and open to the public. Doors open at 11:30 A.M. for conversation and lunch; the program begins at noon.

The first speaker will be Peter Donahue on Wednesday, January 29. Donahue will present Washington History and Historical Fiction. Storytellers from Homer to Hollywood have reported facts of the past. Donahue will discuss the opportunities, challenges and surprises of conducting original historical research and then the process creating a story with that research. He will explore the implications of basing a character on a historical figure or depicting an event with limited historical documentation. Donahue will guide the audience through an impromptu composition of a story based on their own knowledge of local history. The audience will be asked questions about their personal understanding of history and the relationship between historical fiction and historical record, ultimately addressing the question of what the boundaries are between fact and fiction.

On Wednesday, February 12, Eva Abram will present Slavery in the Northwest: The Charles Mitchell Story, one of the few documented cases of slavery in Washington State. Charles Mitchell was born a slave, and in 1853 he was brought to the Washington Territory. While he was in Washington, Mitchell made a break for freedom. That attempt nearly started a war between the United States and Canada. Abram will examine how ideologies move geographically, leading to the question "did moving to Washington affect peoples' opinions on slavery?"

On Wednesday, March 5, the lecture series will close with My Hanford: A Personal History by Kathleen Flenniken. Hanford is currently embroiled in the world's largest environmental cleanup. So large, it requires the construction of a $12.2 billion waste treatment plant. Hanford is burdened with an aging workforce, a history of secrecy and a reputation for punishing whistle-blowers. Flenniken will take us on a journey through her personal ties with her hometown Richland and the Hanford nuclear site where she and her father both worked. She will describe the difficulty she had facing up to the death of a friend's father from radiation illness.

Voices 2013 Fall


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