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Past Programs and Lectures

The Museum has hosted a variety of exciting programs and lectures. Click on a year to see a list of previous programs.






Saturday, January 10 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm. Expressive Arts Workshop: "Homeplace." Community members and students collaborate in making art that reflects on the nature of home and homelessness.  Led by expressive arts therapist Nan Doolittle and CWU student Maggie Bauermeister.   Sponsored by the CWU Museum Club.

Wednesday January 14 at 5:30 pm. Opening reception for the exhibition, "Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America" (from the Penn Museum)  Featuring slam poetry by Xavier Cavazos (English) and an address by Julia Karns (Kittitas County Public Health) on heroin and treatment in the county.

Monday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 pm. Lecture by Dr. Kris Morrissey, director, Master's program in Museology, University of Washington.  "Museums as Social Conversations"

Thursday, November 20 at 5:30 p.m. Dean Hall, Room 104

Voices through Walls: A Toxic Tour.  Lecture by Dr. Steven Gilbert, Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders (INND),

Walls come in many shapes and forms with a variety of intended and unintended consequences on human and environmental health.  We consent to and depend upon walls to create separation and privacy but what are consequences when walls are used to isolate and block interaction?  We will discuss some the historical examples of walls and examine more modern uses of walls along with their unintended consequences. Case studies will include the use of separation walls in Israel/Palestine and along the U.S-Mexico border.

In conjunction with the exhibition, "Migration, Now" at the Museum through December 6.


Thursday, November 6 at 5:30 pm.   Come join us as we celebrate diverse voices, exploring experiences of migration, struggle and success in Central Washington. Noted Chicano leader Ricardo Garcia discusses early Chicano activist history in the region and recounts the rise of Radio KDNA.  Historian Martin Valadez Torres (Columbia Basin College) discusses Mexican American migration history.   Featured writers include Xavier Cavasos and Phil Garrisson as well as student writers. Introduced by Prof. Gilberto Garcia. (Political Science).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies and the "Scratching Post" student writing group. In conjunction with the exhibition, "Migration, Now" at the Museum of Culture and Environment, on view through December 6.




Thursday. October 30 at 5:30 pm.  "Burning the Hearts of the Dead:  Migration and New England Vampire Belief in the Early Republic" ( Brian D. Carroll, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History and American Indian Studies.

In conjunction with the exhibition, "Migration, Now," through December 6.  Co-sponsored by the Museum Club and the History Club. Please feel free to come dressed for a pre-Halloween celebration!


Tuesday, October 21 at 4: 30 pm. Early Learning "Stemfest".    Early learning educators and children are invited to explore the exhibition "How did the cougar cross the road?"


Thursday, October 23 at 5:00 pm    Lecture :   "Making Migration Visible"

Susan Noyes Platt, Ph.D.
Randall 117  (Department of Art)

This lecture will present the work of artists who address immigration into the United States from countries south of the Mexican border. The art addresses the economic and political conditions that force people to leave, the journey itself, work at the border, the process of crossing the border, the conditions for those detained, the community and family disruptions caused by Immigration and Customs (ICE) raids (so-called “Secure Community” raids) all over the country, and above all, the violation of the most basic human rights throughout.

Susan Noyes Platt is an art historian, art critic and activist based in Seattle. She writes on art that engages urgent social issues. The lecture is based on material for her new book on art about  immigration and detention.

This lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Art, the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, and the Museum of Culture and Environment,  is presented in conjunction with the exhibition, "Migration, Now", on view at the Museum of Culture and Environment (Dean Hall) through December 5.

Thursday, October 9. 5;30 pm.  Opening of "Migration, Now" and Museum Fifth Anniversary. Remarks by President James Gaudino. Music by the YVCC Salsa Band.


Thursday, Oct. 16. 7:00 pm.  Kris Ernest (Biology) lectures  on small mammals

Please join the Museum of Culture and Environment for a talk by Dr. Kris Ernest, Dept of Biology:  “Small Mammals, Big Road: Studying and Enabling Biodiversity Along I-90 in the Snoqualmie Pass Area.” Thursday, October 16. at 7:00 p.m. in the Dean Hall Lobby.

CWU wildlife biologist Kris Ernest and her research team have been studying the many species of small mammals living near I-90 in the Snoqualmie Pass region. These populations have been separated since the 1960s by the Interstate. Dr. Ernest will explain what scientists have been discovering about these animal groups and discuss the impact of the new wildlife passages being constructed under I-90.

Dr. Ernest's talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "How Did the Cougar Cross the Road: Restoring Wildlife Passages Across Snoqualmie Pass" at the Museum of Culture and Environment.


Thursday, October 9. 5:30 pm.  Museum fifth anniversary celebration and opening of the “Migration, Now” exhibition, in the Dean Hall Lobby.

Where there's Smoke... Living with Fire opening reception

October 10 at 5:00 p.m., Dean Hall Lobby

Opening Reception featuring fire-making demonstrations by local expert Jim Baugh and light refreshments/

Climatic and Human Influences on the Fire History of the Pacific Northwest, a talk by Dr. Megan Walsh

November 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Walsh’s talk will discuss how climate events and Native American land management practices have affected the frequency of fire and its impact on the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. 

Lion's Rock Visiting Writer Series: Scott Olsen

November 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Olsen will be reading from a selection of his books, the newest being, “Prairie Sky: A Pilot’s Reflections on Flying and the Grace of Altitude,” a collection of essays demonstrating and exploring the change of perspective that comes with altitude.

Museum-Library book club discussion

December 5 at  7:00 p.m. at the Ellensburg Public Library 

Inaugural book: Richard Wrangham's book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

January 21, 5:30 pm - "Hands of a Goze (blind female musician): The Tactile Culture of Visually-impaired People in Modern Japan" A talk by Kojiro Hirose, PhD., (National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan).  Dean Hall Classroom TBD.

January 30, 5-6:00 pm - Covering Fire: The Journalists and the Taylor Bridge Fire.  Print- and photojournalists share how they tracked and reported on the fast moving blaze that destroyed 61 homes and burned more than 23,000 acres.

January 30, 6-8:00 pm -  Winter Reception.  Join the museum as we celebrate the opening of Wolves in Washington State.

February 13, 5:30 pm - Love in the Time of the Pleistocene,  a talk by Dr. Joe Lorenz, biological anthropologist, on the complicated and intimate relations between Neanderthals and early modern humans.

February 27, 5:30 pm - Weighing in on Wolves: A Discussion  Wolves and the return of wolf packs to central Washington is a complicated issue.  This panel will feature speakers with diverse viewpoints, and opportunity for audience discussion.

March 6 at 7:00 at the Ellensburg Public Library  – Book Club Meeting -  Rebecca Solnit's  A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

March 13, 5:30 pm - Ani-Wa'ya: Stories of the Wolf People. Crit Callebs, a Cherokee traditional storyteller, will share ancient stories involving wolves.

April 17, 5:30 a.m. - Opening Reception for How did the Cougar Cross the Road? Restoring wildlife passages at Snoqualmie Pass.  Refreshments will be served as visitors explore the brand new exhibit that tells the story of wildlife connectivity corridors linking animal populations formerly divided by Interstate 90. Follow in the footsteps of native fauna over a recreated wildlife overpass and discover how the cougar crosses the road, and how humans are helping.

A series of speakers including Yvonne Prater, author of Snoqualmie Pass: From Indian Trail to Interstate; Al Aronica (Kittitas Band of the Yakama Nation), Brian White (WSDOT), Jason Smith (WSDOT) and Patti Davis-Darda (USFS) will discuss their knowledge and research concerning the history of Snoqualmie Pass and its wildlife passages.

April 19, 10:00 am - Salmon Run 5K and 10K, with Small Fry kids race.  Registration now open!  Click through to the event page for more information.

April 19, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm - Earth Day Family Festival. Join the Museum and local community groups for a day of educational activities for the entire family.  Click through to the event page for more information.

May 28, 7:30 p.m., at the Ellensburg Public Library. Museum-Library Book Club. Join us to discuss Yvonne Prater's Snoqualmie Pass: From Indian Trail to Interstate.



Particles on the Wall Opening Reception
September 27, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Dean Hall lobby.

Featured contributing artists and writers, as well as co-curators, Steven Gilbert, an environmental health and nuclear disarmament advocate, Nancy Dickeman, a writer and peace advocate, and Dianne Dickeman, a Seattle visual artist.

Dedication of the John Hoover sculpture, "Man who Married an Eagle" (1971).                                                                                                           October 5, 2012 at  4:00 p.m., Dean Hall Lobby.

"Gifts of the Earth: Nature and Tradition in Native American Art."                October 5, 2012.  5:00-7:00 pm. University Reception Center. 211 East 10th Avenue

Arid Lands: Film and discussion
October 11, 2012 Dean Hall, room 104. 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

This award-winning 2007 documentary film, Arid Lands, chronicles life along the Columbia River and the way the construction of Hanford impacted the land. To be followed by a discussion session (discussant tba).

Homecoming at the Museum                                                                              October 13, 2012. 10:00 am-12 noon. Dean Hall Lobby

Reception and museum tours for CWU Alumni and veterans, Dean Hall lobby.  Special display of the student-curated exhibition No Place Untouched by War: The Second World War and Central Washington College of Education developed by Kevin Sodano '12.

Poet Kathleen Flenniken
October 17, 2012 from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

As part of the Lion Rock Visiting Writer’s Series, we welcome Kathleen Flenniken, current Washington State Poet Laureate and former civil engineer at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Workshop: Teaching Hanford Across the Curriculum
November 1, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, at noon, in Dean Hall room 104, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR) will provide a hands-on curriculum workshop for CWU faculty in order to encourage professors to incorporate the history and science of Hanford Nuclear Site into their coursework. Enjoy pizza and listen to curriculum opportunities that engage students in critical thinking about the impact of Hanford on human health and the environment.

Hibakusha: Film and discussion feat. Norma M. Field
November 8, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

A showing of Hibakusha - At the End of the World. Hibakusha (translated from Japanese explosion-affected people”) tells the story of the survivors of atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Afterwards there will be a discussion featuring University of Chicago faculty member in East Asian Languages and Civilizations Norma M. Field

Hanford Story Circle
December 1, 2012 at 1:00p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

No matter your relationship to the Hanford Nuclear Site, it has become a fundamental part of shaping the identity of central Washington.

The Museum of Culture & Environment (MCE) at Central Washington University invites you to participate in the Hanford Story Circle, on December 1, from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Share your stories, memories and ideas about Hanford and the nuclear age. This event is open to all, whether you have been directly impacted by Hanford or simply share an interest in its history. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

Opening Celebration

January 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a reception to celebrate the opening of two new exhibits: Voices of the River: Life Along the Yakima and the traveling exhibit, fashion STATEMENT: Native Artists Against Pebble Mine

The Story of Pebble Mine: A Talk with Anna Hoover, Native Alaskan Fisherwoman and Artist
January 24 at 5:30 p.m.


Veronica Tawhai - “Aotearoa is Not for Sale: The Politics of Indigenous Environmental Law Recognition in Aotearoa New Zealand ”

March 6 at 12:00 p.m. in Dean Hall 103.

Veronica Makere Hupane Tawhai, from the Ngati Porou, Ngati Uepohatu people in Aotearoa New Zealand, is a current Fulbright-Ngā Pae o Te Maramatanga exchange scholar based in Olympia, Washington. At home in Aotearoa she is a lecturer in Māori Development at Massey University, an Education Sub-Commissioner for UNESCO New Zealand, a member of the Māori national Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation, and a member of Te Ata Kura (Society for Conscientisation). She has co-edited two books, Weeping Waters: The Treaty of Waitangi and Constitutional Change and Always Speaking: The Treaty of Waitangi and Public Policy. In Olympia she is being hosted by The Evergreen State College Longhouse Education and Cultural Centre where she is a current Resource Faculty member, and the Centre for World Indigenous Studies where she is an Associate Scholar.


Jim Huckabay - "The Hidden World of the Yakima River Canyon: A “Lifeline” for All"

March 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The Yakima River Canyon is a lifeline, linking the snow-capped Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.  This tremendous energy source for animals and plants also benefits humans, who use river water to irrigate homes and businesses, and enjoy the Canyon’s many recreational opportunities.  According to Jim Huckabay—writer, outdoor enthusiast, and emeritus Professor of Geography at CWU—the Yakima River Canyon is “the heart of our outdoor heritage.”

Learn more about the hidden world of the Yakima River Canyon on March 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Culture & Environment, where Huckabay will present “The Yakima River Canyon; A Lifeline for All.” This short presentation will be followed by a discussion about the canyon and its importance our lives.


A Better Night with Better DayApril 4 at 6:30 p.m.

featuring Keith Champagne as emcee

Join the Museum for an evening of music, dancing, drinks, and food!  Dance the night away to local band Better Day. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres with beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages served by WineWorks. Bid on items in a silent auction. And don't forget to check out the new exhibits in the Museum!

First Annual Salmon Run 5K/10K

April 20 at 9:45 a.m.

This 5K/10K celebrates the life cycle of our favorite anadromous fish! It takes place on the CWU campus and runners are encouraged the wear their favorite salmon-themed costume—the best costume wins a prize! Snazzy race shirts and finishers mementos are included, along with post-race snacks.

Click for 5k results.  Click for 10k results.

Earth Day Family Festival

April 20 at 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Join us for an Earth Day Family Festival at the Museum. We'll have activities and fun for all ages! Make art, meet animals, and learn about environmental and sustainability issues in the region and globally.