Every year, at this time, I try and remind the community of the importance of our Chehalis Valley Historical Museum. While the museum is located here in Montesano, the collections cover a much wider area.
As anyone who has visited the museum can attest, there certainly are a vast amount of historically interesting items on display. After all, that is always the heart of any such facility. That is just a fraction though of the wealth of information that is available to the public.
Below the displays of historical logging exhibits and general area items of interest is the museum basement. Tucked into corners and filed away are literally thousands, tens of thousands, of photographs, diaries, papers, and more. There are charts, official documents, and papers that make absolutely no sense at all. Except, of course, to that one person that is looking for them.
I spent a semester doing work in the museum area of the University of Arizona quite a while back, and am firmly convinced that there is more to discover in long forgotten corners and boxes of your average library and museum than a lifetime of average field work would produce by even the most ambitions archaeologist. An adventure of sorts.
Additionally, the museum docents are walking encyclopedias of area history. Interested in a local building? Want to know about a specific historical area figure? They will know, or know how to find the information.
The Chehalis Valley Historical Museum is us. It is our record after we are gone. It can only exist with our involvement. Does it cost money to keep the building warm so that mold doesn’t destroy our history? Of course. There is something more important than money involved in my opinion.
The museum is currently open from noon to four on the weekends. It is always a scramble to find the people to come in, sit, and perform docent duties. This is the point in the column where I ask you for something.
The museum needs your help. Every first Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m., the governing board meets. If you have an interest in the history of the area and feel you would like to become involved, please do come. The museum needs you.
This coming meeting, Feb. 5, we will have a visitor from the county. I contacted the Grays Harbor County commissioners and Commissioner Wes Cormier responded that he would like to attend and learn more about the operation. The museum is blessed that the city of Montesano helps out financially where it can. It will be nice to have the chance to show the museum off to the county.
I really feel strongly about our museum and it’s importance here in our county.
You are invited to the meeting. Come learn a bit, take a tour of the “secret” areas, get your arm twisted to help out, have some punch and cookies. And get to meet a County Commissioner. Sounds like a great afternoon. Oh, and don’t forget to put a dollar in the donation jar on your way out.
Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today with an active blog at montesanotoday.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.