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||Contacts: Office of the President - 208/792-2216; Dr.
Sean Cassidy, Associate Professor - 208/792-2284; Mr. Dan Foster, Chief of Resource
Management, Nez Perce, National Historical Park - 208/843-2261
College Recognized for Collaboration
with National Historic Park
LEWISTON -On Thursday, February 21, the Nez Perce National Historical Park will present
President Dene Thomas with a commemorative plaque, thanking LCSC for its participation in
a survey of significant cultural and historical sites in the Northwest.
The project has resulted in a video-photographic record of natural and cultural resources
at park sites. Natural and human-caused changes over the last century have been cataloged,
including historic structures, archeology, cultural and geologic features, present
vegetation and steam and river channel changes.
The Nez Perce National Historical Park consists of 38 widely dispersed sites in the
Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The photographic documentation process started in
1997, when LC Professor Sean Cassidy received a small grant to use digital video
technology to survey four park sites. In '98, the Canon Corporation contributed $50,000 to
expand the project, allowing the college and the park to document remaining sites.
Cassidy and his students were instrumental throughout the project. Along with park staff,
they researched a vast collection of historic photographs of sites, gathered from the
park, the Big Hole National Battle Field, Washington State University, the Luna House
Museum in Lewiston, the Clearwater National Forest and others, including individuals who
lived in the area.
"The photographs were used to develop a baseline for information on park
resources," explained Dan Foster, Chief of Resource Management at the park. The
students, under Cassidy's direction, then took digital video segments of each. They put
the segments into sequence and took them into the field to document current conditions at
Duplicating the position from which the earlier photos were taken was a challenge. When
the team found a picture with a landmark of some kind, they used it to determine where the
earlier photographer stood. Sometimes it was easy: an obvious viewpoint or overlook was
used. Other times, they had to be detectives, walking the site and surrounding area-often
significantly changed from its original state-for hours to find the exact spot. The
'detectives' also had to determine myriad other things, for example: did the shooter use a
box camera and, if so, was it held low or set on a tripod? How might the season when the
photograph was taken affect the outcome, and how much of a role would erosion of the
former landscape play in accurately determining the location?
Once those questions were answered, there was still a lot of complicated, intense work to
do in aligning sets of pictures to effectively depict physical changes over time. If
everything went well, the end result began with a historic black and white photograph that
slowly dissolved into color video of the site as it exists now.
"These sites represent rare glimpses into the historic fabric of this nation and the
resources its people have used," said Foster. Cassidy echoed the sentiment and added,
"The project has generated a number of unexpected outcomes that have benefited
Lewis-Clark State students, the local community and the state of Idaho."
Park personnel will present Thomas with the plaque thanking the college for its
participation at 1:00 p.m. in her office in the Administration Building. Student interns
who participated in the project will be present. They are: Dixie Lynn (project manager),
Lou Ann Van Horn (video technician) and Leslie Henriod (camera operator).