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Museum hosts series of history 'conversations'

To encourage inspiring, free community dialogues on critical issues, three of Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Project conversations will take place this fall at the Museum of the Oregon Territory, 211 Tumwater Drive, in Oregon City, starting with “Life After War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home,” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6.

James Lommasson, freelance photographer and winner of the Duke University Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, is the first conversation leader.

Lommasson has captured a striking set of images and writings of returned war veterans that aim to inspire a thoughtful dialogue about their issues. Many returning soldiers bring war back with them, and these struggles can infiltrate home, “the very thing that defines comfort and safety,” he said.

The trials of returning soldiers “are vast and complex, often resonating with tales of Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca from the Trojan War.”

Lommasson is working on a book and traveling exhibit called “Exit Wounds: Soldiers’ Stories — Life After Iraq and Afghanistan.”

On Oct. 20 at 1 p.m., participants will examine what differentiates Native American art in Oregon from that of other parts of the Pacific Northwest, and explore what might this tell us about our state’s identity. Portland State University scholar-in-residence Tracy Prince will facilitate this interactive program, “Uniquely Oregon: Native American Art of Oregon.”

“The Ties that Bind: Interweaving Domestic and Civic Life” is the Nov. 3 program, starting at 1 p.m.

Wendy Willis of Portland State University delves into the recently renewed interest in handmade things, connecting these arts to possible new ways of building a healthy political and civil life. Willis is deputy director for National Programs at the National Policy Consensus Initiative.

November’s conversation marks the month of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Oregon, and Abigail Scott Duniway’s strides for women’s voting rights in Oregon. Duniway’s bed is one of the notable items in the museum’s exhibits of Clackamas County History.

The three-part series is free, hosted by the Clackamas County Historical Society, and made possible by the generous support of Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Oregon Cultural Trust. Free museum admission is included.