A Lewis & Clark Expedition living-history expert is coming to the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum in Stevenson, Wash. In a sense, Tom Wilson will be coming home Sunday, Aug. 17.
Wilson was raised in Stevenson but went on to teach and coach in Astoria for more than 30 years. Some 20 years ago he began assisting at the US Park Service’s Fort Clatsup, (where Lewis & Clark spent the winter of 1805-06) as a member of the curriculum advisory board. He then began helping write the park’s traveling trunk programs, which are used by schools across the country.
Retired now from teaching, Wilson volunteers at the park as a seasonal ranger, doing talks and demonstrations. He also has worked with the Maritime Museum in Astoria on river transportation and exploration curriculum. He has conducted living history training workshops for Ft. Clatsop, Cape Disappointment, and Ft. Vancouver National Parks, and is a past president of the Pacific Northwest Living Historians, a group dedicated to presenting authentic history of the region. Wilson gives historical talks aboard tour boats docked at Astoria, and has portrayed William Clark in the television documentaries Searching for York and Clatsop Winter Story. His wife, Debbie, is executive director of the Lewis & Clark National Park Association.
“We are delighted to welcome Tom back,” said Les Hastings, also a retired teacher, who helps coordinate the Interpretive Center’s speakers program. “He is a dynamic, knowledgeable speaker and one I know people in our area will enjoy.” Hastings thanked Ken Daugherty of Skamania Lodge for providing lodging for Wilson’s visit.
The Sunday, Aug. 17 presentation will be at 2 p.m. in the museum’s DeGroote Theater. There is no charge for the talk with paid admission to the museum.