NEWS FROM THE FRONT
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
The Historic Fort Steilacoom Association will host its annual meeting online at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.
There will be a brief business meeting where members will elect officers to the board of directors. Then the gathering will quickly move to the topic, “The historic significance of Fort Steilacoom and Fort Steilacoom Park.”
The speaker will be Chris Staudinger, who offers lantern tours of Fort Steilacoom Park. Staudinger, the founder of Pretty Gritty Tours, brings the perspective of someone who has learned over time that the area around Fort Steilacoom and its namesake park is one of the most historically significant locations in Washington State.
Staudinger will talk about the importance of the Fort Steilacoom Historic District from the times that Indigenous peoples gathered there for thousands of years to its more recent history as the center of U.S. settlement and then a major mental hospital. “The way we as Washingtonians treat others and, in turn, determine our own humanity, as been forged on this site,” he said.
The period during and after the pandemic mixed things up for volunteer organizations throughout Puget Sound and the nation. We have plenty of room for volunteers with a desire to get involved and to help the community. Here is a list of some volunteer opportunities with Fort Steilacoom:
We seek help with our website. There are so many resources we could share about history and our fort. If you have knowledge of WordPress and an interest in history, we’d love to speak with you.
We’re looking for a tour volunteer coordinator. We offer tours on the first Sunday of the month. We need a volunteer coordinator to email volunteers to remind them they’ve signed up, and thank them afterward. This role requires no knowledge of history.
We’re looking for a history story editor. Every year, we assemble six to eight stories about Pacific Northwest history for the newsletter we showed you above. We need someone to chase down leads and help writers decide when they should submit their stories and photos. You don’t have to edit the stories.
We’re looking for a monthly talks coordinator. In past years, we’ve welcomed guest speakers. You can see examples in this YouTube video about the wives of the officer who supervised construction of our buildings. . Or you can see another example in this video that talks about a little-known subject, Slavery in Washington Territory. Are you curious about topics? Do you like books about Pacific Northwest history? We’d love to talk to you.
We’re looking for members for our board of directors. If you have volunteered at the fort and want to help organize and conduct activities to preserve the buildings and share history, we’d like to hear from you. It does involve work. It does involve more than waiting for someone to tell you to do things. We’re looking for self-starters who “play well with others.”
Are you interested in being a board member, but have not volunteered here before? You could help build a unique community institution. Fort Steilacoom is an amazing opportunity to govern a ‘first fort’ – something that 49 other states put in the hands of government. We are also looking for potential board members who have a passion for building organizations – and have proven it during teamwork on other boards. If that’s you, please get in touch.
Interested? Email us.
From 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, you can experience a July Fourth weekend through activities at some of the oldest buildings in Washington. Living history re-enactors will host children’s activities and demonstrate aspects of pioneer life ranging from foods of the time to tinsmithing.
Celebrate Independence Day like it’s 1859 in buildings that actually did witness people celebrating Independence Day in 1859. This is a great chance to learn what pioneer life was like in one of the few remaining authentic pioneer settings in Washington.
There will be games and fun and learning.
Like our nation, the entire event is free. You won’t pay for anyone you gather to enjoy the fun and celebrate history and heritage with us.
We do gratefully accept donations. The Historic Fort Steilacoom Association maintains four of the oldest buildings still standing in Washington. We do this entirely with volunteer support. Fort Steilacoom is the only ‘first fort’ of its kind in the United States that is entirely managed by volunteers and ungoverned by an educational or parks institution. And our four 165-year-old buildings need as much or more maintenance as a home that you’d live in.
But it’s up to you if you want to donate! Come join us 1 to 4 on Sunday, July 2, to celebrate the holiday and get hands-on with history.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for any updates on this event; we’ll post full lists of what activities and fun to expect.
A note about our location: Please use our street address to find the fort. 9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98498. Don’t use the name of the museum in your phone because it might lead you to the wrong place. Please don’t be the person driving around and around inside Fort Steilacoom Park looking for us. The fort is not in the park. The fort and the parade grounds are across the street on the ‘fr0nt lawn’ of Western State Hospital. When you enter Western State’s grounds at the main entrance, turn right.
Historic Fort Steilacoom
9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW
Lakewood WA 98498
For email or mailing address: Contact Us