Affiliate Assistant Professor and Volunteer Curator, Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC)
Phinney Hall 217
Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC)
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1111
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1111
Priscilla Wegars' areas of interest include historical archaeology of Asian Americans in the West, specifically Chinese American and Japanese American sites, artifacts and history; Chinese women, specifically Polly Bemis; 19th and 20th Century American material culture.
Priscilla Wegars is a historian, historical archaeologist, artifact analyst, editor and proofreader. She founded the University of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC), a unique resource of artifacts, images and documentary materials essential for understanding Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions and cultural history. Priscilla Wegars edited Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese (Baywood, 1993, reprinted 2003), and founded the Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC, 1982) in the Laboratory of Anthropology at the University of Idaho.
Wegars has conducted extensive research into the history of the Chinese and Japanese in the Northwest, has directed several archaeological survey and excavation projects of Chinese sites in Oregon and Idaho, and has led numerous classes and tour groups to Chinese historic sites in the West. She wrote Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer (2003; Honorable Mention for Idaho Book of the Year); Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp (2010); As Rugged as the Terrain: CCC “Boys,” Federal Convicts, and World War II Alien Internees Wrestle with a Mountain Wilderness (2013; Co-Winner for Idaho Book of the Year); and Polly Bemis: The Life and Times of a Chinese American Pioneer (2020).
She co-edited Chinese American Death Rituals: Respecting the Ancestors, with Sue Fawn Chung (2005); see Amazon.com for her books. As a member of the Idaho Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, Priscilla gives PowerPoint presentations on these and other topics. In 2017 the Idaho State Historical Society granted her its Esto Perpetua award "in honor and recognition of significant contributions to the preservation of Idaho History."