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Posted: Aug 29, 2009  08:31

Museum Hosts Weekend Of Events Commemorating David Thompson Bicentennial

      Bonner County Historical Museum

Septr 9th [1809] Saturday A fine day. ...We all at length arrived in safety, thank God, at the mouth of the River (at 2 Pm) where we camped for the Night. They all smoked - say 54 Flat Heads, 23 Pointed Hearts & 4 Kootanaes - in all abt 80 Men. They then made us a handsome present of dried Salmon & other Fish with Berries & a Chevreuil &c.

David Thompson journal entry after arriving at a late summer tribal encampment at the mouth of the Clark Fork River

On September 12, 1809, North West Company fur agent and surveyor, David Thompson, led the construction of a warehouse on the Hope Peninsula to store goods used as currency of the trade that he would establish with Kalispel, Salish, and Coeur d'Alene people at Lake Pend Oreille. The trade house was named Kullyspel House for the Kalispel people who lived then and now along the lake and rivers of this region.

200 years from the date that Thompson began constructing Kullyspel House, the Bonner County Historical Museum will host two days of fun and interesting events on Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13 in commemoration of this fur trade bicentennial.

On Saturday the 12th from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., the Museum will host a bicentennial exhibit opening and a living history demonstration.

The Friends of Spokane House will set up a living history fur trade camp by the Museum in Lakeview Park. FOSH is a group of fur trade re-enactors that are dedicated to promoting awareness of the early fur trade activities that shaped Euro and Native American history of the Inland Northwest. They accurately depict the material culture and life ways of the North West Company traders and trappers of Thompson's era.

The Museum's new bicentennial exhibit opening that day features a full-size replica of a cedar plank canoe that Thompson built for a journey to the Pacific in 1811. Also on display are an exhibit about Kullyspel House and a traveling exhibit produced by Jack Nisbet and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture titled, The Mapmaker's Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1812. At 2:00 p.m., Thompson historian and author, Jack Nisbet, will give a talk in the fur trade camp about the early fur trade at Lake Pend Oreille.

From 1:00 p.m. until the food runs out, Museum volunteers will be demonstrating how to cook in Dutch ovens and will be serving cobbler style desserts, ice cream, and drinks as a fundraiser for the Museum.

The event moves to the Panida Theater Saturday evening with the local premier of a new documentary film titled, Shadows of David Thompson. Filmmaker George Sibley, of Gale Force Films, will introduce the film which was produced for the bicentennial. Afterward, Sibley and Jack Nisbet will speak about the bicentennial, making the film, and Thompson's time with the Kootenai and Salish people.

On Sunday, September 13, the Historical Society is sponsoring a history and geology field trip following David Thompson's route on his first trip from the Kootenai River to Lake Pend Oreille in 1809. The leaders of this field trip are Tom Sandberg, Idaho Panhandle National Forest archaeologist; Dr. Roy Breckenridge, Director of the Idaho Geological Survey; and Jack Nisbet, Thompson historian and author. The trip is being co-sponsored by the Sandpoint Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute. It is currently sold out, but due to high interest those that are interested are encouraged to contact the Museum in case another field trip is organized.

For more information about any of these events, please contact the Bonner County Museum at 263-2344 or The Museum is located at 611 South Ella in Sandpoint. Tickets for the film at the Panida are $7.00 or $6.00 for BCHS members, seniors, and students and are available at the Museum and at Maps & More at 109 Main Street.


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