History comes alive at local events
It is often said the better a person understands the past the more equipped they'll be for the future and members of the Wilsonville Library Foundation, Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society and Wilsonville McMenamins agree, as they continue to further that mission of education by hosting local history nights.
"The History Pubs are a great cooperative effort between organizations," Tim Hill, the event founder, says. "The overall aim, from the beginning was to bring significant and thought-provoking topics of local and regional history to the general public, free of charge and in a casual setting, presented by leading scholars, experts in the field and eyewitnesses. McMenamins provides the venue, along with beers and a burger for those interested in that, while libraries, historical societies and colleges recommend presenters and topics and serve as emcees. And we all work to get the word out about these programs."
Community members have the chance to gather together within the Wilsonville McMenamins' Old Church building on the last Tuesday of each month to learn more about the events that have shaped Oregon's history.
"One of the great things that McMenamins does is focus on the locations where their restaurants are," says Patrick Duke, director of the Wilsonville Library. "When you walk into McMenamins the art on the walls all show the Wilsonville history."
McMenamins has sought to expand on its love of local history with these Wilsonville events that are free to the public. Duke says that the co-sponsorship with Wilsonville Library Foundation and the Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society is a natural fit, as all groups seek to further historical opportunities within Wilsonville.
"There were more than 100 people at the program last month. There are people that come regularly," Duke says. "We have done programs on Wilsonville itself, the cemeteries, the Willamette Locks — things that have a lot of local interest."
Each month the program explores one specific aspect of Oregon history, covering exciting topics like the shipwrecks and lost treasure found on the Oregon Coast to local Works Progress Administration artwork. Every topic is chosen with the Wilsonville community in mind.
"From the library's point of view, any educational program is a benefit," Duke says. "We want people to keep learning their entire lives. In addition, having people come together for monthly events creates community."
One History Pub program in particular stood out to Duke, an event dedicated to exploring the boyhood home of President Herbert Hoover, which is located in McMinnville.
"As you go through your life you learn a lot about Hoover, mainly about the Great Depression," Duke says. "By the end of the program he was much more of a human being, someone who acted on a belief system that was important to him. I didn't expect to have that kind of learning experience."
The History Pub program seeks to strengthen the knowledge of community members when it comes to local history, and provide a place that delves deeper into Oregon's past.
"I hope people get a connection to Oregon and local history, as well as a connection to each other," Duke says.
If you go:
The next History Pub will be held Tuesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wilsonville McMenamins. The program will be exploring the Secret History of Underground Salem. Admission is free.