HSU and Clarke Museum celebrates Centennial with exhibition

By Ashley Villavicencio

Flapjack Chronicle

Joined together, Humboldt State University and the Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka are hosting an exhibit and demonstration of over 100 years of archeology and history of Humboldt County and its indigenous tribes, which will continue on until Nov. 30.

Written in a handout, “The Clarke Museum’s home, the former Bank of Eureka building with its unusual glazed terre cotta façade, was designed by San Francisco architect Albert Pissis and built in 1912. In 1960, Eureka High School teacher Cecile Clarke purchased the building and moved her extensive local history collection. Nealis Hall, the Native American annex, was added in 1979.”

With such an emphasis on Humboldt County’s history, this exhibit, a special Humboldt State University exhibit, can be seen displaying artifacts and remnants of the indigenous peoples of the area.

The gallery currently has on display the elegance of Victorian fabrics, beading, basketry, lumber works, ceremonial regalia, stones, and overall craftsmanship of the Wiyot, Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa and other northwest tribes in the surrounding area.

Ben Brown, curator of the Clarke Historical Museum finds an importance in learning about the culture and history within Humboldt County.

“Emphasizing the historical importance, multiculturalism and their connection to the local and worldwide community over these last 100 years, we are proud to help showcase HSU’s past and present,” Brown stated.

Awareness and education are two of the key points in the exhibit, to showcase the works of the talented tribes that were and still are living in Humboldt County, and the history of HSU, formerly known as Humboldt State Normal School, and its centennial year celebration.

“I just wanted to emphasize that native cultures are alive and well today,” said Brown, “they’re still practicing ceremonies, still conducting things the way they have since time immemorial. I really think it’s a new age of archeology we’re living in.”

With a focus on the celebration of HSU’s coming, and on the archeological history of Humboldt County, members of the community, HSU archeologists, family, and students have spent time to learn and celebrate more.

“In our lifetime we’ll probably never find anything really significant,” said Barb Klessig, an HSU grad student. “The motivation behind doing it is the possibility that we might.”

Bow and arrowhead making and basket weaving were demonstrated at the museum, where elementary school children became experienced and educated on hands-on craftsmanship of the native tribes.

“Archeology is about culture and a lot of conservation,” said Nikki Martinson, an archeology undergrad at HSU, “keeping sites safe and keeping the general public from excavating sites on their own.”

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