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Volunteers travel in time at Maryhill

Museum has broad range of actiivities for individuals who wish to help with programs and research

Mention Maryhill Museum to local residents and they think of the place they take visiting relatives and friends to.

But there are individuals to whom Maryhill Museum represents an adventure in time-travel. Not the time travel found on television or the internet, but the kind that thrives through documentation. These individuals are Mary Schlick of Mt. Hood and Juanita Neitling of The Dalles.

Both women are volunteers at the museum. Mary Schlick is the volunteer adjunct curator of Native American art and as such made it possible for the museum to receive a gift of 6000 photographic slides taken of Native American gatherings during the 1950s by J.W. Thompson (1890-1978).

For the past three years, Schlick volunteered to complete the Herulean task of cataloging the collection and for the past year Juanita Neitling has volunteered to do the data entry.

"It's like time travel," said Schlick. "You see the images and read about these people and places and you feel like you are right there."

The collection has gained national attention. Earlier this year, Schlick was invited to present a slide-lecture at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.

Through November 15, in conjunction with Washington's Territorial Sesquicentennial, Maryhill Museum is presenting the exhibit Festive Gatherings: Tribal Life on the Columbia Plateau 1952-57, which Schlick curated from the collection.

The collection was donated to Maryhill Museum by J.W. Thompson's daughter Lucile Munz in 1997.

Featured in the exhibit are color photographs of people living on the Yakama Indian reservation.

Neitling is a Yakama and was raised in the Goldendale area.

"These photographs document the warm fellowship and tradition of tribal gatherings still celebrated today," said Neitling. "It is wonderful to be able to help preserve that history."

A retired chemical engineer, Neitling spent most of her professional life working for the paper industry. "Now I get to use my knowledge of local history and people to help with a project that has lasting meaning," said Neitling. "My mother was Cascade-Yakama and I'm working on this project to honor her and our family heritage."

The Museum has a broad range of activities available to volunteers from helping to organize programs and assisting with research to painting walls and installing labels for new exhibits.

"The volunteers also have a lot of fun," said Courtney Spousta, coordinator of volunteers. "There are special events held throughout the year just for them."


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