Bainbridge Island Historical Museum Programs
The museum displays significant artifacts, photos, videos, etc. in an exhibit titled "An Island Story" which tells the story of the island from the time of native peoples, European discovery, early logging history, shipbuilding, farming, World War II involvement, Japanese American exclusion and post war development. This exhibit is housed in the 1908 one-room schoolhouse. The museum also has temporary exhibits that are housed in the Helen Bucey Gallery. Recent Exhibits have included "100 Years of the Schoolhouse," "The Hall Brothers Shipbuilders," "Whales in Our Midst," and "Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar."
The museum's reference library maintains out-of-print island and regional histories, schoolbooks, atlases, and encyclopedias; newspapers including, original copies of the two dozen published on the island and microfilm reels of newspapers dating from 2002 to 1989; Bainbridge Island High School yearbooks; a historic resources inventory that documents archaeological sites, geological features, natural phenomena, and historic properties from the 1850's to 1945.
The museum has an outreach program that provides humanities education experiences for youngsters, especially including fourth graders from Bainbridge public schools, other public and private schools, Scout groups, individual students, and groups from schools/colleges in the Puget Sound area doing research. The museum provides richness, variety, and enhances these programs by incorporating archival research and collection items. The museum conducts an innovative history summer camp for children age 10 to 12 which is sold out each year.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The exhibit "Ansel Adams - A Portrait of Manzanar" won the Western Museums Association Award For Exhibit Excellence and attracted attention in the New York Times, Seattle Times and other regional publications. It combines photos taken by Adams in 1943 at the Manzanar, California concentration camp with the story of Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans who were the first of over 100,000 forcibly removed from their homes beginning in March 1942.
The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum's most critical need is for ongoing general support. The Board is actively pursuing fundraising activities, and the budget has finished in the black every year for the last six years. Nevertheless, it is a challenge to meet budgeted expenditures, serve the dramatically increasing number of museum visitors, and continue to expand outreach and education activities.