North Olympic History Center offers scholarships for ‘Hands on History’

An old organization with a new name is looking for students to write papers about Clallam County history.

Members of the Clallam County Historical Society approved a name change to North Olympic History Center in December. Now, the re-branded group is sponsoring “Hands on History,” with winning entries receiving scholarships.

Any student in Clallam County in grades 5-12, including homeschool students, are eligible to participate.

“If students don’t have a topic, we’ll supply ideas – this county’s history is full of great stories,” said Patrick Noonan, who is in charge of the project.

“We’ll also provide each student with a mentor familiar with their subject,” he added.

Entries are now being sought; contact Noonan at

Submissions of 1,500 to 2,500 words on the student’s chosen topic will be judged in late March.

Topics must be approved by the North Olympic History Center. Suggested topics include: city history and business; Navy fleet visits; early area explorations; resorts/hot springs; lighthouses; shipwrecks, development of transportation on the peninsula; life during World War II on the home front; fraternal organizations; local tribal history; the history of the Elwha River, and winter sports at Olympic National Park/Hurricane Ridge, among others.

Slides and other presentation materials are allowed; points are given for creativity.

Finalists will present their work during a public event on April 15.

“Family participation is encouraged; few adults in the county have had a course in Clallam County History, so this is a great opportunity to learn from the kids,” Noonan said.

The center’s board of directors has raised money for scholarships. It will award two $1,500 scholarships to juniors and seniors and two $500 scholarships in lower grades.

Award money will go into dedicated accounts and held until the students enroll in college.

“Since this is our first year, we’re looking for ways to provide scholarship money going forward,” Noonan said. “We’re seeking donations and hope to endow the program for years to come.”

For more information, text or call Noonan at 360-808-5102.

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