September 28, 2023

National Archives Awards Grant for Vietnamese Portland Project

The National Archives and Records Administration has awarded Lewis & Clark a $150,000 National Historical Publications and Records grant for Vietnamese Portland: History, Memory, Community. The project team, in collaboration with several community partners, is working to document the rich history of Vietnamese Americans in Portland.

The National Archives and Records Administration has awarded Lewis & Clark a two-year $150,000 National Historical Publications and Records grant for L&C’s Vietnamese Portland: History, Memory, Community project. The project is led by Hannah Crummé, head of Watzek Library Special Collections and college archivist.

Hannah Crummé, project director and head of Watzek Library Special Collections and college archivist Hannah Crummé, project director and head of Watzek Library Special Collections and college archivistFor the past five years, Special Collections has been working to build a resource that contributes to a more robust and inclusive history of the city of Portland, a city of immigrants. For example, the college archives have already collected 140 oral histories documenting 60 years of the Vietnamese American experience in Portland; these oral histories and more than 140 digital objects are accessible by researchers. Further, some of these materials have been used to develop curriculum in Portland Public Schools and create podcasts.

This newest grant will allow the project team to work with partners to promote outreach and use of the collection in local schools and libraries through presentations and publications, and to create resources for heritage organizations interested in community archiving practices.

“I’m excited that we get to extend our work with the Vietnamese American community in this way,” says Crummé. “Lewis & Clark has so many programs that bring the college together with the community in Portland, and this is a lovely way for Special Collections and Archives to be involved in that. I am particularly thrilled to have the chance to create records that more thoroughly and accurately document the true range of experiences in our city.”

Photographs of William Vuong taken during interview. Credit: Lucy Hamill, Vietnamese PortlandThe success of Vietnamese Portland relies on a multifaceted collaboration with many partners, including the Multnomah Education Service District. Crummé’s team will work with middle school social studies teachers to develop lesson plans and resources based on the Vietnamese Portland archive and to train other teachers on the use of these curricular materials. This project also involves expanding work with the Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion program in Portland Public Schools, which has used some of these materials as part of their eighth-grade capstone project in the past.

Other local individuals, cultural consultants, and organizations—including but not limited to the Vietnamese Community of Oregon and the Asian and Pacific-American Network of Oregon—have been and will continue to be critical partners in making sure Lewis & Clark’s collection and activities meet the needs of the local Vietnamese American community. These partners have assisted the L&C team by making introductions and facilitating participation in events. They have also provided useful feedback, made important suggestions about the project direction, helped the team create culturally appropriate activities, and provided translation and transcription. Going forward, these partners will help Lewis & Clark introduce community records into the archive.

Vietnamese Portland will also further facilitate Watzek’s collaboration with the Multnomah County Library system, which brings a traveling exhibition exploring this collection to branches around the city.

In addition to this new grant, Crummé and her team have sought and received multiple external grants to support this project, including funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2021), the Library Services Technology Act (2018, 2019, and 2020), and the Council of Independent Colleges (2019).

For more information about the project, visit
Information for this story was provided by Lewis & Clark’s Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance.


Vietnamese PortlandSpecial Collections and Archives