The Orcas Island Historical Society celebrated its 2008 opening on Friday, May 23. Members and general public enjoyed refreshments served in the Barfoot-Hodde entrance way while tapping their toes to the zither, fiddle and accordian tunes of Katie Jensen, Walter Daub and Trudi Erwin.
The Museum’s five homestead cabins are resplendent with new exhibits in each, and the ever-popular Orcas Voices living history in the Kirchhoff cabin, said Museum Director Micki Ryan. “The exhibits in the beautifully dovetailed Boede cabin, the largest of the five, look so real it seems that Rachel Boede and the children just stepped outside for a few minutes,” commented Past President Kathleen Collister.
She added, “The Jackson cabin, oldest of the five at 130 years, reflects the talent of Lea Bossler, one of the Museum’s High School interns this year. In addition, Jenna Schmidt’s senior project is on exhibit in the Kimple cabin. We now can see items from the Museum’s native American collection that have not been on view for many years.”
The main gallery’s theme this year is “Preservation in Practice” and showcases the importance of saving family treasures, and traditional hand crafts as well as public landmarks. Another addition to the museum this year is a new museum store, set up with help from a third high school intern, Val Agnew.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11-4. Admission is free for members; $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students, and children under 12 with an adult are free.
The new walkway leading to the front door intrigues everyone who walks past to find their own name-engraved brick in it. Additional bricks to be laid in the path are still available for purchase, which supports the renovation and upgrades of the historic log cabins. Landscaping will proceed over the summer as heritage plants are moved from various sites over the island with help from the Orcas Island Garden Club.
The Historical Society invites everyone to visit this island treasure, recently described as one of the finest small museums in the Pacific Northwest by Burke Museum Director Julie Stein. Researchers are welcome in the Archives by appointment on Wednesdays and Fridays, and are invited to call Director Micki Ryan at 376-4849 to make an appointment. Ryan advises, “Don’t forget to pick up your 2008 Museum Crazy Quilt raffle ticket for $2 – the handstiched quilt made by 16 island quilters is simply stunning and would make a lovely heirloom to pass on.”
The Museum will be holding two benefits this summer. The traditional annual Historical Days celebration will take place Saturday, July 5, on the Village Green from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with handcrafts, blacksmithing, steam engines, Civil War costumed encampment, apple pie and more, including the Chamber of Commerce Parade.
On Saturday, July 26, islanders are invited to come out to Crow Valley to Save the Barn!, a benefit picnic to preserve the 100-year-old Nordstrom barn, with proceeds split between Save the Barn! coordinator (and barn owner) Kathy Stribling and the Museum renovation.
Tickets for this event are available at $20 per person and include a wonderful buffet inspired by Bilbo’s, entertainment by the Olga Symphony and the Shedd Brothers and a live auction. A terrific black and pear green “Save the Barn!” baseball caps also available for a $50 donation to benefit the barn.