Fort Walla Walla Museum exhibit ties late astronaut to local artist


With Neil Armstrong’s recent passing, we lost a great American hero. While he may never have taken one small step at Fort Walla Walla Museum, a connection between this famous astronaut and our community is housed there,” emailed executive director James Payne.

During his noted career as an illustrator and artist, native Walla Wallan Norman Adams has produced covers and other artwork for many major American magazines.

Norman took on a special assignment in July 1969 when TV Guide hired him to paint its cover highlighting Apollo 11, the first human lunar landing.

“He had four days to complete this assignment. When he met with the folks from NASA, he was given a description of what to include in the illustration,” James said.

In addition to showing the Lunar Module, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface, he was instructed to paint the television camera. While pictures of the astronauts and Lunar Module were supplied, there was no image of the camera situated in the room.

Norman’s illustrations are always extremely accurate so he needed something on which to base the camera, James said. When Norman went to take the camera to his studio to serve as a model, the NASA people were aghast.

There were only two such cameras in existence and one was moon-bound. “At a cost of a million dollars a piece, they did not want the artist to walk off with their camera, which no doubt represented the cutting edge of technology."

Norman told them he needed an accurate camera model because he couldn't fabricate its details.

“Well, you would think with people used to dealing with rocket science, someone from NASA would have come up with the idea of Polaroid but they did not. Instead they allowed Norman to borrow this incredibly expensive piece of high technology for a day to make an accurate sketch of it" James said.

Said Norman: "They were very much concerned about how well I’d take care of it, and I must have had a dozen calls that day about how careful I was being and when I'd return it."

The original painting and a copy of the TV guide can be seen in the Fort Walla Walla Museum Headquarters building, 755 Myra Road. It’s open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $3 for children 6-12, and free for children five and under and members. See or call 509-525-7703.

For nine years members of the Walla Walla High School Latino Club have helped the Walla Walla Fairgrounds put its best feet forward.

This time, 47 club members pitched in to spruce up the grounds for the Labor Day weekend Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days.

For several days and evenings in mid-August they cleaned the pavilion area and fairgrounds, swept and mopped floors and cleaned bathrooms and glass cabinets. They also helped set up many display areas in the pavilion, said club advisor Bill Erickson in a release.

All told, students and friends anted up 250 hours of community service.

The club participated in the Saturday fair parade and Latino Club Dancers performed at the fair.

Exploring Post 311 sold food and soda products at a concession stand in the grandstand during the concert, demolition derby and three nights of the rodeo to raise funds to support Latino Club activities during the school year.

Overall, 80 club members and friends were involved by working more than 650 hours during the fair, Bill said.

The Learning for Life Program, which supports the Wa-Hi Latino Club as Exploring Post 311, is a subsidiary program of the Blue Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Exploring Post 311's Charter organization is the College Place First Presbyterian Church Men's Breakfast Group.

Park Plaza retirement center donated $290 in supplies to give Lincoln High School students a boost at the beginning of the school year.

They collected a variety of granola bars, canned goods, school supplies and personal hygiene items needed by students, said Lisa Norton, Park Plaza's enrichment coordinator.

The supplies were collected during a back-to-school dinner hosted at the center Sept. 9.

"We thought it would be a good idea for the entry fee into the dinner to be a back-to-school donation. Then we chose to donate to Lincoln High since our two choirs partnered together last spring when they sang at Walla Walla Community College," Lisa said.

She discovered when she contacted Lincoln that rather than help with typical school supplies, some of the students need items like deodorant, personal hygiene products, socks or a can of soup to take home.

Park Plaza provided $100 worth of goods. Another $140 and items were donated at the dinner from residents and guests.

Lisa took the cash and bought more supplies for the school.

"I am very happy to be in a position to be able to organize fundraisers where I can help and I hope this makes their lives just a little bit easier," Lisa said.

The new season is here and Walla Walla Valley Bands' first concert on tap is a Halloween Spooktacular, for 3 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Walla Walla Community College Performing Arts Auditorium.

The group was founded in 1989 as the Walla Walla Community Band. Its impetus came from local adults who sought a way to play band music for their own and the community’s enjoyment, said Linda Howell, who's in charge of public relations.

From its initial 30 members, it’s grown to about 100 today, all volunteers drawn from the Walla Walla Valley as well as Dayton, Milton Freewater, Pendleton and Hermiston. Selected high school students are recruited to handle critical positions if there are no adult players available to fill them.

WWCC students can participate in the bands for credit, Linda said.

WWVB has played at many community events during the years including the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede, Arts Train and Christmas Parade. This past year the band served as September “Pep Band” for the Walla Walla Sweets baseball team at two home games.

Its members usually perform four public concerts a year at which admission is charged.

It receives payment for its performance at the Whitman College commencement. The Bands received a stipend for the annual Fourth of July in the Park celebration but now needs a sponsor for the event, Linda said.

WWVB has also had a joint concert with the Yakima Community Band for the past two years and plans a joint concert this season in spring 2013.

Conductors drawn from the area have included Dale Newby, Bill Gilbert, Glen Mitchell, Meredith Mitchell, Linda Howell, Glen Gilbreath and others. Ron McHenry has been conductor for the past 10 years.

During Ron’s tenure, he has formed two jazz bands from the membership, which play short sets at the concert band performances and a concert of jazz music in the spring.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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