The Willapa Seaport Museum in Raymond, Wash., has announced the opening of a new exhibit on southwest Washington maritime history. On June 12, the museum dedicated an exhibit of the rebuilt wheelhouse of the F/V Vanshee. The exhibit honors the still-working boat, current Captain Pers Odegaard, and its long history. The museum itself is something like grandma’s attic; it’s no Smithsonian, but it’s packed with fun and interesting bric-a-brac. The museum also announced an expansion of its exhibit on the Coastal Artillery, a branch of the U.S. Army that defended Washington State in the days before aircraft.
The museum, located near South Bend, Wash., on the Willapa River is a prime example of a community museum which plays a pivotal role in keeping local memories alive and passing them to children and grandchildren. They also play an important role in bringing newcomers up to speed about their new neighborhood and attracting tourists to local businesses. I’ve also viewed them as unsung heroes of the travel and tourism industry. In some small towns, the local community museum is the best, and sometimes the only, attraction around. The museum is listed in the Fyddeye Guide to America’s Maritime History.
What’s your favorite community museum? (Comment below.)