Groups wants Everett to have a museum
EVERETT - Everett has never had a museum to call its own, but a group of dedicated residents want to change that.
Most of Everett’s artifacts have been locked away behind closed doors for years now.
The group leading the effort thought it had a solid home at the Snohomish County-owned Carnegie Building, but the group was forced to vacate last year when the group couldn’t come to terms with the county. The group presumed it had a long-term lease for $1 a year when the county inexplicably decided to charge a much higher rent, group members said.
At the time, the group was preparing to reopen the Snohomish County Museum of History. Now back with a business plan and a new focus, the same group wants to open a bigger, better Everett Museum of History within the next few years.
More than 50,000 pieces moved from the Carnegie are scattered between the Culmback Building downtown and a space inside the Everett Mall.
Only a small sliver of pieces are on public display: a collection of typewriters are in a downtown storefront window.
“A city this size should have a museum,” museum executive director Barbara George said last week.
The group plans to ramp up a capital campaign fundraising effort this summer and has big plans for the money raised. The group estimates it will need $3.75 million to buy a building site downtown and get the space open by 2014.
The group has a professional curator cataloging each artifact.
The new museum would have interactive exhibits using the latest technology to tell the story of Everett’s history, board member Bill DeGroodt said.
“To attract people to a museum, you need more than just artifacts,” DeGroodt said.
Group president Greg Rielly’s eyes light up when he talks about creating a museum “Everett can be proud of.” Rielly is a fourth-generation Everett resident whose office overlooking Hewitt and Colby avenues is lined with photographs of Everett history.
“I think (having a museum is) more important than people realize,” Rielly said. “It’s part of our society. How can you know — or not know — where you came from?”
Rielly points to the corner of Hewitt and Colby, which continues to serve as a public speaker’s corner. History is everywhere in Everett, he said. The International Workers of the World — known as the Wobblies — took a series of stands there in 1916 in events that were the precursor to the Everett Massacre.
Curator Amalia Kozloff is going through each artifact one by one to catalog them.
The museum’s artifacts include speakers from the Sno-King Drive-In Theater, later known as the Puget Park Drive-In and now the site of a medical clinic, former Everett mayor and Gov. Roland Hartley’s desk and antiquated film equipment.
It could take a couple of years to catalog it all, Kozloff said.
The museum hopes to acquire the contents of the local Henry M. Jackson Foundation’s archives, George said.
In the meantime, the group is conducting an oral history project and posting blogs about historic events on its website at www.everett-museum.org.
The journey to create a museum has been bumpy. Before the group lost its lease with the county, a fire started in the museum’s archive storage space in 2007. While the fire didn’t damage anything, the water used to put out the fire soaked archived papers such as old newspapers.
“It’s an exciting effort, but it’s been a little frustrating at times,” George said.
To support the effort
The museum is looking for volunteer advocates to promote a museum in Everett.
You can donate money to the Everett Museum of History, P.O. Box 5556, Everett, WA 98206. Donations are tax-deductible.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published April 11, 2012