How the Valley Museum Had its School Room Start
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:17 PM
In the wake of the Open House at the Valley Historical Museum, the following is a reprint of an account at the opening of the first museum in the Valley.
I interviewed Mrs. George Gaines for the history included here and, because she was there, I think her account of it is probably more authentic than anything I could dig up at this time:
...The Museum can be said to have come into being way back in 1939 when it was suggested that celebrations be staged in communities throughout the State in recognition of 50 years of statehood. The suggestion seems to have been all that was necessary to throw North Bend into high gear and there followed a two-day statehood observance of pretentious proportions, It included a pioneer banquet, a carnival, out-door events of various sorts and a pageant depicting the history of the Valley - written and directed by Mrs. E. S. Hill, a teacher and collector of both historical data and artifacts.
L. C. Wright, Superintendent of Schools, and G. A. Okerlund, Principal, were as enthusiastic as Mrs. Hill and when she suggested a display of pioneer articles, they gave their permission for the use of an unused schoolroom for a display area.
With collection of Indian artifacts as a nucleus, the exhibition was off to a running start and Upper Valleyites brought family heirlooms and memorabilia of all sorts to augment it.
Items dating as far back as 1863 were on display - guns, manuscripts, household goods, old pictures, etc., all loaned by local pioneers.
Just about everybody turned out to make the celebration a success and such fervor was not to be unrewarded. What set out to be a two-day exhibit in honor of half a century of statehood remained, at public request, for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, viewers still could not bear to part with it, so since the room was not needed at the time, it settled down comfortably as the North Bend Museum.
Mrs. Hill acted as curator, collecting, labeling and making sure in all possible ways that loans were well cared for and available for return to their owners at any time. She retained that position as long as the Hills remained in the Valley. The collection of heirlooms and artifacts remained in its "temporary" housing until 1960, when increased population made it necessary to use the room for its original purpose - school.
A meeting of interested persons hastily convened and it was decided to form a full-fledged Historical Society - one which would be representative of the whole Valley. It was officially named the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society.