UO museum’s Mount St. Helens Month commemorates 30th anniversary

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Apr. 29, 2010) - The UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History will mark the 30th anniversary of the cataclysmic May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens with signature programs by top UO geological science faculty and a local folklore expert. In May, the public is invited to a series of presentations that explore the earth-shattering effects of the eruption and the influence volcanoes have on the environment and people of the Northwest.

According to Katharine Cashman, UO professor of geological sciences, the 30th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption provides a unique window through which to view and measure the ecological and geological impacts it caused and to consider how natural events continue to shape and change our world.

"The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption was a seminal event for the field of volcanology, in that it was the first explosive eruption to be closely monitored throughout all stages of eruptive activity," said Cashman. "As such, it provided a lens through which we can view both the past volcanic history of Cascadia and current volcanic activity around the world."

Cashman will present, "Mount St. Helens: The Tale of Two Eruptions and Three Decades," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, Room 175, Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. The free presentation will use oral histories, songs, poetry and science to help attendees understand how the 1980 eruption transformed the ways in which people of the Pacific Northwest view the volcanoes that dominate our landscape.

"We are constantly reminded of the power of nature," says Ann Craig, assistant director of education. "The eruption of the volcano in Iceland is only one of our most recent examples. The Mount St. Helens programs are designed to engage our community in exploring an event that greatly impacted the lives and the environment in the Pacific Northwest."

Mount St. Helens month programs also include:

Tales for Tots: "An Island Grows," Wednesday, May 5, 11 a.m. to noon, at the museum, 1680 E. 15th Ave. Preschoolers and their families are invited to explore volcanoes through the whimsical story written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Cathie Felstead. Following the story, children will watch and discuss a mini-volcano explosion, created by Heather Campbell, museum education assistant. "Tales for Tots" is a program offered at the museum the first Wednesday of each month.

Don Hunter, regional archivist of sights and sounds, offers a dynamic multi-projector, multi-screen presentation, "Mount St. Helens and the Volcanic Cascades," Tuesday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m., Room 175, Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. Lane County Historical Society, event cosponsor, will honor Hunter by accepting his collections as a gift to their library/archives as a part of the evening's program. The donation consists of several hundred thousand slides taken between 1938 and 2003.

Those interested in sharing a brief personal story of "Where were you when Mount St. Helens blew?" will have an opportunity following the May 18 presentation. Limited quantities of Don Hunter's DVD featuring the evening's show will be given to audience members, the result of funding from the Institute of Museums and Libraries Services.

The UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Judi Pruitt, assistant director, visitor services, 541-346-1671, judip@uoregon.edu

Link: Museum of Natural and Cultural History, http://natural-history.uoregon.edu