Issaquah History Museums Programs
We operate two museums that welcome a combined total of 7,000 visitors each year. New exhibits at both facilities feature hands-on activities and interactives that help make the history of our town come to life.
We care for a collection of 8,000 artifacts and more than 10,000 photographs that interpret the history of Issaquah. These items are used in a variety of ways to illustrate the community's past in books, exhibits, and our web site. Caring for the museums' collections is at the heart of our mission. One of our ongoing challenges is providing adequate storage and environmental controls in order to maintain the items in perpetuity.
We regularly offer a variety of free or inexpensive programs to the general public, such as history hikes, a lecture series, and other events. Many of these are aimed specifically at chidlren. Heritage Day lets kids get their hands on history through ten different historic activities. At our Holiday Open House, kids have a chance to make a craft patterned on a Depression-era holiday ornament in our collection.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In May of 2012 we launched our Digital Initiative, which provides access to our collections via the internet. Users can search for particular people, topics, or time periods, and then view related photographs and 2-dimensional artifacts. Among the resources available are more than 50 oral history transcripts, letters sent between sweethearts during WWI, journals, maps, and the archives of the Greater Issaquah Coalition, who were active during the 1980s, a period of rapid change in the community.
We are currently facing a challenge that is also a great opportunity for our organization. A warehouse building where we store many large artifacts is wanted for expansion by the local food bank. They are interested in purchasing the building, and we are interested in selling. However, in order to take advantage of their offer, we need to locate alternate storage space for the artifacts, secure that space, and fund the cost of additional staff hours for sorting, packing, and moving the items. This is not the year we would have chosen to take on this project, but this is the year the opportunity is presenting itself. We are seeking operating funds in hopes that we can increase staff hours again in order to meet this unanticipated challenge.