The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive was established in 2002-2004 as part of a collaborative project between Washington State University Vancouver, the Idaho State Historical Society, Oregon Historical Society, Washington State Historical Society, and Washington State University Pullman. The project was an early effort to provide digital access to historical materials with a thematic coherence that would engage online researchers in thinking more deeply about the significance of the rich primary resources available in museums, libraries, and historical societies. The focus of content seeks to highlight the presence of ethnic groups whose past were unrecognized or not always represented in the history of the Columbia River Basin. The project includes digital collections, interpretative materials and lesson plans related to the topic of history of these ethnic groups.
The project’s archive remains active and includes over 1,000 photographs, documents and oral history interviews relating to the history of ethnic groups living in regions of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The dates of materials range from 1860 to the 1980s. In the mid-2000s additional materials from the Clark County Historical Museum were included with documents and photographs from the NAACP Vancouver, Washington Branch collection. Tutorials, lesson plans and historical overviews are archived on the site but are no longer updated.