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Keeping Tradition Alive

Opened in October 2015 the Wanapum Cultural Center is a focus for the traditions and heritage of the Wanapum people.

The new Wanapum Heritage Center is a collaborative effort between the Wanapum Tribe of the Columbia River and the Grant County Public Utility District to preserve the story of the Wanapum people.

Sited on the Columbia River, near the traditional location of the Wanapum Village, the new Museum and Heritage Center takes its formal cues from the basalt cliffs of the surrounding landscape. A simple concrete form houses the permanent exhibit and repository, while a wood and steel frame provides the backdrop for the more active and community based functions of the facility. The new Museum houses permanent and temporary exhibits, a collections repository, library and gift shop, as well as spaces for administration, active exhibits, cultural activities, community gatherings and academic conferences.

ClickNetherfield USA was contracted to Formations, the main exhibit fabrication contractor for the project. Continuing our long and successful collaborative relationship with Andre & Associates Interpretive Design, we were brought to the team to provide design development assistance, conservation showcase detailing and finally the fabrication and installation of 4 large-scale architecturally integrated showcases. Our team worked side by side with Formations and AAID throughout the installation and the attention to detail and teamwork is clearly evident in the finished product. The highlight of our scope of work is the Continuance of Traditions Showcase. As described by AAID's blog Wanapum Journey of Design and Fabrication: Continuance of Traditions Showcase.

In a broad sweep, this showcase embraces all the stages in the life of a Wanapum. A trail of moccasins from baby size to elders unite these stages. Age-old cultural traditions are united with contemporary traditions in a life that is uniquely Wanapum but also influenced by other cultures from the surrounding, modern world. The background of the showcase is lined with tule mats, a unifying element from past to present. The making of structures, clothes, moccasins, and tule mats both here and throughout the exhibit are a tribute to the dedication and hard work of each and every Wanapum of all generations and shows how their heart and soul has gone into not only the ideas and the words, but also into the physical reality.

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Exhibition fact file

What's Inside

protect, preserve and perpetuate the natural and cultural resources of the Priest Rapids Project


Wanapum Heritage Centre


October 2015


Formations and Andre & Associates Interperative Design

Cases Used