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Dr. Harold “Hal” Bergen


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Dr. Hal Bergen & his wife Marj in 1958 (...and Jet the dog next to the screen).

In 1989, avocational archaeologist Dr. Harold ("Hal") Bergen donated his archaeological collection to the Burke Museum. The collection, which contains site reports, maps, photographs, and over 14,000 artifacts represents decades of work by Dr. Bergen and his late wife, Marjory Bergen.

Dr. Bergen began his medical career in the 1930's at Columbia Medical School. It was here that the Bergens met and were married after Dr. Bergen's graduation in 1939. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Bergen was called upon to serve as a medical doctor for the army during WWII. He was inducted in 1941, and was transferred overseas to England just after D-day to be a field surgeon with General Patton's third Army.

After the war, the Bergens moved to Yakima, Washington, where Dr. Bergen became the first in-residence obstetrician. At this time, they began to explore their interest in history and archaeology, recording sites and collecting artifacts from all over the region. In the following decades, they amassed the collection that is housed in the Burke. Sadly, in 1987, Mrs. Bergen passed away from complications resulting from osteoporosis. In her memory, Dr. Bergen has established OsteoEd, an osteoporosis education grant at the University of Washington Medical School. Dr. Bergen continued to work with the collection after his wife's death, and ultimately donated it to the Burke Museum.

Dr. Bergen also established the Archaeology Endowment Fund to help support the curation of this collection as well as educational programs in archaeology. Dr. Bergen's initial gift has been increased with donations from other Burke Museum supporters, and now totals over $120,000.

The Bergen collection consists mainly of artifacts from the Columbia Plateau area, as well as some from the Olympic Peninsula. It includes site reports, photos and maps, all of which provide precious information about the artifacts. The donation also contains one of the largest collections of projectile points, atlatl weights, and other stone tools in the Pacific Northwest. The Collection is in the process of being cataloged in the museum's computer database, and some items are now on exhibit in the museum.

Dr. Bergen continues to reside in Yakima since his retirement in 1985, where he enjoys fishing and caring for his peach orchard. He still takes an active interest in the Burke Museum and in archaeology in general. In the past three years, he has provided funding for the University of Oregon Archaeological Field School. Recently, Dr. Bergen and members of the museum archaeology staff visited Fort Rock Basin, a site where Dr. Bergen collected some of the materials that he gave to the museum. In addition to the Archaeology Endowment Fund, Dr. Bergen has continued to generously support the Burke Museum's Archaeology Public Outreach Program (APOP), providing funding for staff positions, equipment, curation supplies, and this website. Most recently, Dr. Bergen provided funding for two new traveling archaeology education kits, as well as the staff time to create them and take them to local schools.