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Creating a Puzzle Room at the Museum

Puzzle Room Video

New Exhibit Open at Museum of Culture and Environment

The Museum of Culture and Environment (MCE) at Central Washington University kicks off its newest exhibition: Where There's Smoke... Living with Fire, with an opening reception on October 10, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.  Join us for refreshments and learn about traditional fire-making practices and flint knapping from local expert, Jim Baugh. Fire has a very real impact on our landscape, our community, and our lives.  Where There's Smoke explores how fire has influenced our lives, from the plant life that thrives after a burn, to the way humans fight fires, to the lasting impact that ancient and recent fires have on our modern life. 

This exhibition was inspired by the 2012 wildland fire season and its impact on Ellensburg.   The Taylor Bridge Fire, which became out of control in a matter of hours, consumed over 60 homes and 23,000 acres.  It was followed by the Table Mountain Fire, which burned over 40,000 acres.  In their aftermath, we are left with a set of questions about fire and the role it plays in our lives. 

Where There’s Smoke provides a glimpse into the long history of fire in Central Washington State.  Explore clues left by fires that took place thousands of years ago and learn about the role that fire played in the lives of Native American communities.  Delve into historical archives to assess how fire regimes change with the arrival of industrialization, agriculture, and urbanization.  Engage with the powerful stories told by residents and firefighters who have experienced recent fires.

Visit the MCE between October 2nd, 2013 – March 22nd, 2014 to address your "burning questions" about the science of fire and its relationship to our culture and environment.   The MCE is located in Dean Hall on the CWU campus, 1200 N. D Street. The Museum’s hours are Wednesday through Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Parking is free on the CWU campus after weekdays after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends.  For more information, please contact or call (509)-963-2313.

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