Historical figure, new films planned at Whitman Mission

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WALLA WALLA — Living history researcher and performer Karen Haas will infuse life into pioneer missionary Narcissa Whitman Saturday at Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 328 Whitman Mission Road.

Haas will present two different talks as Narcissa. The 2 p.m. piece will be about her life. At 6 p.m., she will devote more time to reflecting on her missionary efforts.

These new presentations are premiering at Whitman Mission.

Life does not always go as planned, as Narcissa and Marcus Whitman discovered during their time in the Oregon Territory.  For this program, Haas portrays Narcissa pondering the successes and the trials of her life at Waiilatpu Mission in the Walla Walla Valley. 

Both programs last about 45 minutes. In addition Narcissa will stroll the park grounds and chat with park visitors from 1-4 p.m. 

Haas is a professional re-enactor who portrays many characters. She made her debut appearance as Narcissa Whitman at Whitman Mission in 2007. She has returned every year since. Her programs have been very popular with visitors, according to a release.

The park has two new movies, a 25-minute film that presents Marcus and Narcissa Whitman coming to the Cayuse homeland, the events that followed and the continuing consequences of those events. A four-minute video introduces viewers to the first foods of the Plateau peoples, the reciprocal relationship the tribal peoples have with these foods and how a changing climate could impact this relationship.

In addition to the movies, a visitor to the park may visit the museum, take a self-guided tour of the mission grounds, or attend a ranger program. The grounds include the original building locations, Great Grave and Whitman Memorial shaft.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site is open every day. Summer hours for the visitor center are Sunday and Monday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. On Saturday evenings park rangers stay on site until 7 p.m. and give programs and answer questions. Summer hours last through Labor Day.

Whitman Mission is 7 miles west of Walla Walla off Highway 12.

For more information, call 509-529-2761, or click here.

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