November 11, 2008
Issaquah is ready for a new museum
Issaquah is long overdue for a real museum. We believe the voters would support a city bond to build a museum, should the City Council agree to give the voters a chance.
Issaquah History Museums (formerly the Historical Society) already has the historic Issaquah Depot and the original Town Hall, both serving well as mini museums. One visiting student class is about all either one can handle without busting at the seams.
But displays of artifacts are just the beginning of a museum. Photos, documents and research space are just as vital, especially in a town whose early roots are among its treasures. The attic space at the Town Hall museum is no longer viable.
Issaquah History Museums also owns a warehouse where other memorabilia — from old washing machines to tools and cookware — is stored and repaired, next door to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
It just so happens that the food bank — whose building is owned by the city — is in need of more space. That could be an opportunity for both nonprofits. One or the other could relocate, leaving the combined space available for a larger, improved food bank or a new museum site.
The Eastside is ready for a really great history museum and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be located here, close to the historic downtown and other civic buildings, but within easy access of Interstate 90 and passing visitors.
The small contingency of the History Museums’ staff, board members, museum members and volunteers have talked about this for years and clearly have the vision and passion, but not the ability to raise the money to build a museum without the backing of the city and the voters.
First step is a feasibility study and a plan. If this isn’t the year to fund it, it can still be the year to take real steps toward a real museum.