Issaquah History Museums tackle tough times, convince public why history matters

January 8, 2013

The recent past for the Issaquah History Museums sounds almost like a hardscrabble chapter from local history.

Executive Director Erica Maniez, staffers and volunteers face a perennial challenge to convince the public why history matters and, more importantly in the short term, why the organization needs donations to continue operations, especially as nonprofit organizations dedicated to human services command the spotlight.

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Time runs out for end-of-year donations to nonprofit organizations

December 31, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Dec. 31, 2012

The need is up nonprofit organizations, but as donors start to make out checks for year-end donations, local organizations sometimes struggle to stand out in a field crowded with requests for giving.

In King County, end-of-year charitable giving to nonprofit organizations is on the to-do list for many donors. The average person makes 24 percent of annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, according to research from the Center on Philanthropy.

Issaquah and the Puget Sound region maintain a long-held reputation for generosity to charitable causes. The key for nonprofit organizations to successfully solicit donations, local leaders said, is to highlight successes.

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Unlock the Issaquah History Museums’ secrets

February 21, 2012

Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez leans against a historic road sign at the Gilman Town Hall Museum. By Greg Farrar

Find hidden treasures from the past in the city’s unofficial ‘attic’

There are 8,359. And counting.

That’s how many artifacts, including 3-D objects and an array of documents, make up the Issaquah History Museums’ collection.

With 7,111 photos to complement the collection, there’s no better place to get a sense of what makes Issaquah, well, Issaquah.

Among the items are rare finds — an unusual Native American trading knife buried beneath the floor of an Issaquah business or a logger’s skidding cone made right here by the town blacksmith.

Some are specific to this area, such as an early 1900s billboard — discovered later facedown in a ditch — advertising the latest and greatest in Issaquah merchants, medical care and goods.

But while each item lays claim to its own history and back story, every artifact weaves into a fabric that tells a story of who we are as a community, how we came to be and even where we’re going in the future.

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Artist re-creates favorite downtown landmarks in handmade postcards

September 13, 2011

Jane Garrison, Issaquah landscaping architect, displays her hand-drawn postcards of downtown landmarks. By Tom Corrigan

Downtown Issaquah isn’t necessarily related to Jane Garrison’s duties as a docent for the Issaquah History Museums at the Gilman Town Hall Museum.

Still, it seems appropriate that Garrison can speak happily and fluently about the background of various downtown buildings and landmarks.

“I love downtown Issaquah. I love the buildings,” said the talkative and friendly Garrison, 70.

With an architectural landscaping business of her own on Front Street for roughly 25 years, Garrison said that after she retired she got to know and truly appreciate the feel of downtown Issaquah. Always having been an artist, one of her side projects included pen-and-pencil drawing of various downtown landmarks.

The spots she sketched include Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, the Eagles Hall and the salmon hatchery. Garrison initially made the drawings strictly for her own enjoyment. But now she has decided to use the sketches to create some very unique and localized greeting cards.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the cards will benefit the history museums. The cards are blank inside, but one of Garrison’s 12 drawings appears on the front along with a history capsule about the location depicted.

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A bell’s history is discovered

February 23, 2010

Tour through time

A regular look at Issaquah’s past

Above the concrete floor of the Auto Freight Building, where the American Indian trade knife profiled earlier was found, is where the Issaquah History Museums have stored large artifacts for the past 20 years.

Among these are the Peltola Sleigh, the original Issaquah Volunteer Fire Department Hose Cart, and a variety of large logging and railroad artifacts. Most of the items’ rich histories have been documented, and can be matched up to the artifacts through our artifact numbering system.

But during the years when the historical society was low on volunteers and without staff, pieces of history were stored in the building without being numbered, labeled or documented. The history of a number of these artifacts are still being researched. Read more

Burke Archaelology Collections shares a look at C. M. Sheafe’s flat-top maul

February 2, 2010

In planning the exhibit In This Valley, Issaquah History Museums’ staff members aimed to interpret the history of American Indians in the Issaquah area. Unfortunately, they had very few authentic American Indian artifacts in their collection. Museum Director Erica Maniez contacted the Burke Museum in Seattle to inquire about borrowing artifacts for the exhibit.

In a review of archaeological artifacts found in the Issaquah area, Burke Archaeology Collections Manager Laura Phillips located a hand maul. Hand mauls look like large pestles. They were carved from stone, and used like hammers.

As an archaeological artifact, the maul was not impressive. It had a large chunk chipped from the bottom, and remnants of very old glue on the surface. In one area, there were remnants of inked paper, suggesting that a collector had created a homemade label for the maul. Read more

Nonprofits make pitch for funding

October 22, 2008

Much of the credit for Issaquah’s high quality of life must go to the volunteer and nonprofit groups who work all year toward that goal. But they can’t do it without a little help from the city.

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