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Valley museum makes important acquisition

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NORTH BEND - After searching for more than a year, the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum found its new director just down the street.

Dale Sherman, who has been busy restoring the McGrath Building in downtown North Bend with his wife, Susan, will take over as museum director later this summer. The museum has been without a director since April 2000, when Greg Watson left to become director of the Marymoor Museum in Redmond.

Sherman, 51, sees the job as combining his interests in history and the Snoqualmie Valley.

"There's so much history tied into this Valley," Sherman said. "There's a continuity here. People have lived here for generations, families have been here for generations."

It is that love of history and local knowledge that helped Sherman become the choice as museum director.

Kris Kirby, president of the museum's board of directors, said the board decided to take its time in finding a new director on the advice of Charles Payton, head of King County museums. The board put out feelers for new candidates, with no obvious choice. Finally, Susan Sherman, a board member, recommended her husband.

"Susan came home from a meeting and suggested I might be interested," Sherman said. "It made sense. We both like to stay in touch with the community and give back to the community."

Kirby said that the more the board looked at Sherman and his skills, the more sense it made for him to become the new director. Kirby pointed to ShermanOs background in management, grant writing, experience working with local and county government, plus his volunteer work to develop the museum's Web site, as pluses. Add to that Sherman's ties to the community and interest in history, and it all made sense.

"We were delighted to get Dale on board," Kirby said.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday afternoons each week between April and October. In the months since Watson left, employee Mona Crowe has filled in two days a week, and volunteers have kept the museum open on weekends.

Sherman moved to the Valley 11 years ago. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a minor in philosophy, from the University of Oregon. He has experience in construction, sales and marketing. The Shermans restored a Snoqualmie building, constructed in 1905, and opened a business, Sherman Tile. In January 2000, they bought the McGrath Building on North Bend Way and have been renovating it since then.

"We have an abiding interest in things old and interesting," Sherman said.

Once Sherman gets settled, he'd like to tap into the vast sources of history in the Valley - oral history, written documents and photographs - to expand the museum's collection. The museum is well-positioned to add to its history, Sherman said.

"There are all sorts of things that gradually are coming to life and being documented," he said. "It will be a lot of fun."

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