In a quaint corner of Kitsap County, nestled amidst the streets of Bremerton, lies a timeless treasure trove waiting to be explored—the Kitsap History Museum. Stepping through its doors is like embarking on a captivating journey through the annals of time. From the artifacts that whisper tales of the past to the dedicated individuals who breathe life into its exhibits, this remarkable museum is a community-driven haven that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Kitsap’s history.
Unveiling Hidden Treasures
From the moment you enter, you are greeted by a dedicated team of historians, curators, and volunteers who share a passion for bringing history to life. Jeanine Greco, the passionate director of exhibits and engagement, captures the essence of the museum, stating, “We’re not just about telling stories; we’re about giving people a platform to tell their own stories.”
For over 75 years, the Kitsap History Museum has been connecting communities with the stories that shaped their existence. Established in 1948, this beloved organization has become a custodian of Kitsap’s heritage, housing a collection of over 50,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents. Each item holds a unique story, weaving together the threads of the county’s past—from tea kettles and typewriters to historic documents and newsletters – these artifacts provide glimpses into the daily lives of generations past. But it’s not just the objects themselves that captivate; it’s the stories behind them that truly resonate.
Voices That Matter
“We want to be a safe place where people can tell their stories, where the voices of all are included in history.” – Jeff Coughlin, Executive Director of the Kitsap History Museum.
The Kitsap History Museum is more than just a repository of artifacts; it’s a bridge between generations. It strives to amplify the voices that were once overlooked, creating a platform for underrepresented communities to share their stories. One of the museum’s most impactful exhibits is the Roosevelt Smith collection of Black Americana. Through a partnership with prominent African American historian Roosevelt Smith, the museum showcases a powerful narrative that sheds light on a history often overlooked. From KKK posters to uplifting stories of resilience, this exhibit challenges us to confront the past and learn from it, ensuring that we create a more inclusive future.
But the museum’s impact goes beyond its exhibits. It is a beacon of unity, fostering collaborations with neighboring businesses like Finger’s Duke and Ballast Books Co. Together, they form a network of good neighbors, working hand in hand to celebrate the history of Bremerton and Kitsap. The recent anniversary celebration event at the Roxy Theater, exploring its own history, exemplified the power of partnership in preserving the community’s shared heritage.
During challenging times, the Kitsap History Museum has faced financial obstacles, relying heavily on donations to keep its doors open and admission free for all. However, the community’s support has been invaluable. Attending their events, becoming a member, and spreading the word on social media are simple yet impactful ways to contribute. By embracing the museum as our own and sharing its wonders with friends and family, we ensure its continued growth and accessibility for future generations.
Supporting Our Shared Heritage
As we reflect on history, we are reminded of the lessons it imparts. We learn that progress requires understanding and empathy, that diversity and inclusion enrich our narratives, and that by acknowledging the struggles of the past, we can build a better future. “We welcome volunteers and their diverse skills. Whether you have a passion for documenting artifacts, conducting research, or simply sharing the museum’s story, there’s a place for everyone,” said Angie Tomisser, Acting Board Chair. The Kitsap History Museum stands as a testament to these ideals, serving as a space where stories are preserved, shared, and celebrated.
So, whether you’re a Kitsap native or a curious visitor, step into the Kitsap History Museum and embark on a journey that will leave you captivated and enlightened. Let the Kitsap History Museum be a reminder that history is not a stagnant collection of facts but a living tapestry that weaves together the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of those who came before us. As we delve into the stories of the past, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our community. Let us learn from history’s lessons, embrace diversity, and work towards building a more inclusive and compassionate future.
Thank you to the Washington State Department of Commerce for being in partnership in powering the Growing Greater Businesses Grant and to our 23rd Legislative District Representative, Tarra Simmons, for securing it!