By TOM WELCH
Special to the Islands’ Sounder
One hundred and sixty eight years ago, a journey began from the shores of Orcas Island that will finally be “completed” on July 17, 2010.
That “journey” was the movement of local native and natural artifacts and objects, including maps and measurements of Orcas, collected by the U.S. Exploring Expedition on its epic voyage of discovery in the years 1838-41. These items, the first local specimens of native and natural life collected for scientific study, became part of the absolute treasure trove of materials the Exploring Expedition returned to our national capital that culminated in the formation and construction of The Smithsonian Institution.
On July 17, 2010, the Orcas Island Historical Museum will open our first-ever Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit, “Journey Stories.”
What journey did you, or your forebears, make to reach this country? How did you journey to Orcas Island? We all have journey stories of our own – some heartwarming, others tragic or sorrowful, many fascinating or even amazing – and this exhibit will be a unique opportunity for us to gather those stories in our community. A part of our museum will be devoted to those local stories throughout the summer, helping build excitement as we approach July 17 and the opening of the Journey Stories exhibit.
Selected as one of only six museums in Washington State to host this exhibit in 2010, and proud of the fact that our museum is by far the smallest of the group, we are eagerly anticipating this wonderful opportunity for our community.
The board, staff, docents and volunteers join the members of the Orcas Island Historical Society and Museum in announcing this singular opportunity for us to host a Smithsonian Institution exhibit, and in urging everyone in our community to join us as we celebrate the arrival of the exhibit and the culmination of that journey that began here 168 years ago. Help us welcome the exhibit to Orcas Island, and help us, too, by telling your own journey story.