Exhibits at Fort Nisqually 1Temporary exhibits in the Great Room showcase objects from the Fort’s permanent collection. They provide insights into the daily lives of the Fort’s historical residents and into the workings of the Hudson’s Bay Company, of which the Fort was part. All exhibits include hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.

Current Exhibit

Commerce on the Cowlitz: Trade, Transportation and Territorial Transition

June 8-October 12, 2019

The need for trade and reliable transportation in Washington Territory changed a corridor of commerce from a native trail to a major highway. Native trade was conducted along the Cowlitz trail, bringing goods between the Puget Sound and the Columbia River.

The Cowlitz Tribe regulated the trade as it passed through their territory making them very rich and powerful. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) utilized the route as the easiest form of entry into southwestern Washington, moving furs between forts Vancouver and Nisqually.

The trail was expanded as the fur trade declined in the late 1830s and transportation needs began to refolve around agriculture. American settement brought more change as the route was difficult for wagons to travel. The newly formed territorial government tasked the military with cutting a road to increase emigrant travel and ease military maneuvers.