As Astoria's bicentennial celebration approaches, so does the opportunity for community members to take an adventure in history, with the Adventures in History lecture series kicking off Sept. 23 at the Liberty Theater's McTavish room.

The first of five lectures, beginning this month and running through Sept. 15, 2011, will feature Stephen Dow Beckham, Pamplin Professor of History at Lewis and Clark College.

Beckham will lecture on "Uncle Sam's commitment at the mouth of the Columbia River."

"Stephen will be talking about early government and their involvement with the mouth of the Columbia, starting with President Thomas Jefferson and how he was obviously committed to the Columbia and the exploration of Lewis and Clark," said Paulette McCoy, director of the Astoria Bicentennial.

"Early government had a lot of involvement in Astoria and the surrounding community. And Stephen will speak for about an hour and then answer any questions people may have."

Beckham was chosen by the Bicentennial Education Committee, a group of 10 community members who selected the speakers for the five-part lecture series. Beckham has ties to the North Coast: His grandparents were married in Astoria in 1911.

After the lecture, Beckham will be available to sign any of the several books he has written about Astoria, Oregon Native Americans and Lewis and Clark, to name a few of his topics. However, none of his published works will be available for sale at the event.

The event will feature music before the lecture, performed by Astoria Chamber Players soloists, Anne Lederer on piano, Janet Bowler on flute, and Shelley Loring Barker on bassoon. A dessert bar, beverages, and no-host wine and beer offerings from the Wet Dog Cafe are included in the evening events, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For tickets, call (503)?325-5922 ext. 55. Entry for adults is $15 and students, seniors and military tickets are $13.

The second lecture in the Adventures in History series is scheduled for Jan. 27, with speaker Mark Eifler.

Eifler has a Ph.D from Berkley and teaches at the University of Portland. He also is the former chairman of the Department of History and will be talking about the Russian exploration of the Northwest Pacific.

"He has a brand new book available and it's going to be available for purchase and for signing,"?McCoy said. "His lecture is going to be very good, too."

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