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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Museum celebrates history

Civil War portrayal, horseless carriage among day’s attractions at the MAC

Dan Hansen Special To The Spokesman-Review

Visitors could go back in time during Living History Day at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture.

But many said Saturday they wouldn’t want to make the trip without their iPods, cell phones and Big Macs.

“Electronics and fast food restaurants would be hard to give up,” said Brandon Lewis, 17, of Spokane. “No ibuprofen, either.”

Lewis was among the re-enactors teaching visitors about the Civil War and staging battles outside the MAC at the one-day event.

“Boom!” went their .58-caliber rifles, again and again, the smoke from black powder hanging over the Campbell House and other Browne’s Addition homes built during the 50 years following the war.

Brie Jones jumped each time and said she’d rather live in the 21st century than go back in time.

“There’s stuff that’s better today,” said the 9-year-old South Hill resident. “It wouldn’t be that fun.”

Nicole Gordon, 14, said she wouldn’t want to give up computers or modern medicine to live in early Spokane. The Elk girl’s younger sister said she’d miss modern cars.

“And yet, I really like horses, so I don’t think I’d mind all that much,” said Megan Gordon, 12.

A hundred feet east of the staged Civil War battles, Pete Sheeran was explaining how fur trappers lived at Fort Spokane. He demonstrated over and over how to start a fire with steel, flint and a bird’s nest of dry grass and cattail fluff. Sheeran made it look easy and said he was helped by Saturday’s warm, dry weather.

“Too much humidity makes it hard,” he said. “Today, everything’s been working really well for me.”

On the lawn west of the Civil War were displays from later decades: steam-powered farm equipment, Schwinn bicycles from the 1930s, and a battery-powered horseless carriage from 1912.

Right next to that 6-volt Baker Coupe was its modern equivalent: the Tango, a battery-powered car built by Spokane-based Commuter Cars Corp. And even though Gabe Jones liked the Civil War encampment and the Campbell House, the futuristic Tango was among the 12-year-old’s favorite displays at an event dedicated to antiquities.

“I like nowadays better because there’s newer things,” Jones said.

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