Armchair photo tours: Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-stagecoach
This Concord Coach, the first stagecoach in the Walla Walla Valley, was shipped by steamer around Cape Horn. It’s on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum in Walla Walla, Washington.

Photos by Cheryl Landes

The Fort Walla Walla Museum covers 15 acres of the original military reservation in Walla Walla Park. More than 50,000 artifacts and photos tell the story of the people who have lived in the Walla Walla Valley. The museum also hosts a Living History series and other events and programs.

The museum has five large galleries and a pioneer village. A military cemetery is next to the museum’s grounds.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through the Walla Walla Valley in 1806 during their famous expedition. At that time, the native peoples still lived freely along the creeks and rivers here. Fur traders and British missionaries arrived during the next decade. Then, in 1836, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman built their mission at Waiilaptu on the Walla Walla River. Twenty years later, soldiers established Fort Walla Walla, which encouraged pioneers to settle and build houses, businesses, and churches.

In the 1860s, Walla Walla became the largest city in Washington Territory due to a gold rush and flourishing agricultural industry. The valley has been famous for its agriculture since then. Onions, wheat, asparagus, grapes, and beef are among the many products grown here. One hundred twenty-one vineyards covering more than 319,000 acres produce some of the top Cabernet and Sauvignon varieties.

When I visited the museum, many of the exhibits focused on the agricultural industry. If you’re interested in the evolution of agriculture, the museum has a large collection of farming equipment dating as far back as the early days of the industry here.

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-Entrance-Hall
The Entrance Hall at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-military-officer-parlor
A replica of a military officer’s parlor at Fort Walla Walla, circa 1910

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-teepee
A teepee on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-grain-binder
A grain binder manufactured by John Deere, circa 1911-1925, on display at Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-Harris-Hillside-Combine
A Harris Hillside Combine on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-Mitchell-wagon
A Mitchell wagon on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum. These wagons were used for light loads like flour, rolled feed grains, coal, or bulk groceries.

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-outside
The entrance to the World War II exhibit at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-sheep-wagon
A sheep wagon on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-manure-spreader
A John Deere manure spreader, circa 1912-1936, on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-Metropolitan-Fire-Engine-Pumper
A Metropolitan Fire Engine Pumper on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-car
An antique car on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-tractor
One of the tractors on display at the Fort Walla Walla Museum

Fort-Walla-Walla-Museum-31-mule-team-at-rest
A display showing what a 31 mule team at rest looks like at the Walla Walla Museum

The Fort Walla Walla Museum is 2.5 miles southwest of downtown Walla Walla, 243 miles northeast of Portland, and 272 miles southeast of Seattle.

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