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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, History Museums, Museums

Mission: The mission of the Harbor History Museum is to create opportunities to experience the heritage of the greater Gig Harbor communities. We do this by collecting, preserving and sharing the history of this area. Our vision is to be the cornerstone that provides a sense of identity for our community. The museum fulfills its mission and vision by providing a museum and educational programs serving residents, visitors, researchers, and students. The Society distinguishes its museum from others in the area by its commitment to building bridges between the past, present, and future.

Programs: Opened on September 18, 2010, the Harbor History Museum programs  include: a hands-on interactive historical museum, on-site education programs consisting of pioneer school experience in the restored one-room Midway School, restoration of the 65-foot Skansie-built purse seiner the Shenandoah, national traveling exhibits, and a robust schedule of lectures and workshops.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Harbor History Museum is a fun and informative museum which tells the story of the greater Gig Harbor area. There are many hands-on activities for kids among the interesting and educational displays for adults. This is a gem in Gig Harbor and should not be missed.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Harbor History Museum is a jewel. Visitors can expect to be wow-ed by the displays and artifacts which are part of the permanent gallery. The museum is inclusive of all of the communities which surround Gig Harbor and honors the contributions and stories of a wide range of early settlers who together shaped Greater Gig Harbor. Exhibits in the rotating gallery are timely, well planned and thought provoking. There is truly something for everyone of every age. Many of the exhibits are child-friendly and beg to be touched. Youngsters actually have fun while learning! All visitors will appreciate the presentation of the area's history and culture.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Our family had the opportunity to view the Gig Harbor museum when my husband's non profit hosted a meeting there. We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits- particularly the boats and the pioneer school house. Our daughters commented that they wished the school exhibit was around when they were younger. It reminded all of us of the school exhibit at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead in South Dakota.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Gig Harbor Historical Society building and museum is the greatest thing that has happened in the last 70 or more years. All done without profit or government. An accomplishment that has not been ever done in this community. It houses the best collection of artifacts and history of the area that has ever been assembled by any group. The preservation of history is very important, for if you do not know from whence you came, you really do not know where you are, and this makes almost impossible to know where to go, for you do not know which direction to take.

Gene

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

February 1964; the organization that became the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society was formally organized. Within a year, the minutes state that our hope is to have a museum. For 46 years we worked toward that goal, the culmination of which was the opening of the Harbor History Museum. Yes, that's a long time to have, and work toward, a dream, but the results are our beautiful, informative displays, hands-on activities (even adults play with the magnetic wall and its magnet characters) and informative programs. Every step of the way was a learning experience, a challenge that was met "head on" and conquered. The long journey is really not over; there is more to come.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Harbor History Museum is a wonderful asset to the Gig Harbor area. As a history buff, I was thrilled to see the early history of the area with the Native American art and history recognized. What fun to bring linguistically minded children and have them enjoy the interactive language component. It truly brought the very early history of the Harbor to the present.
The exhibits showing the early settlers of the area are well done and bring those names that we see on the street signs to life.
We appreciated seeing the Shenandoah as we know people who have had the good fortune to travel on her in the waters of Puget Sound.
The school house exhibit is well done. As a former teacher I appreciate the work that has been done to make this an interactive part of the museum as well.
Well done, Harbor History Museum!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a retired school teacher, I have continued to work with small groups of children in an after school program. The Harbor History Museum has been a favorite destination.
We have studied the ferry Skansonia and the purse seiner Shenandoah. We painted models of both. Through research at the museum we learned the various routes that the old ferry traveled, visited those locations and made a map to show our families. The Shenandoah, the museum's center piece, provided us with knowledge about how a purse seiner fished.
The museum has been a wonderful resource in educating my small groups of children. I have found that through their exposure to Gig Harbor's charming past that their parents have also been learning about their community. Many of their parents had never visited the museum. Now they have.
The Midway School House Program is exceptional and immerses children in the pioneer educational experience complete with books, rules and true-to-life setting of the era. Fabulous.
I appreciate the quality programs that the museum has to offer and also enjoy the warmth, knowledge and kindness that its staff has most graciously shown. Hooray for Harbor History Museum! S.E.E.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Since I was new to the area I did not think the History Museum would be something that I would be interested in, but I have definitely found that not to be true.

I have attended many different functions at the museum and have also visited to see the various exhibits. I was extremely impressed with all I have learned about the area, its past history and its growth.

The museum does a wonderful job of sharing history and making it a very enjoyable and entertaining experience.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a member of a community that made this museum reality! We far exceeded our goal and stayed true to our Mission Statement!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Harbor History Museum goal was to build a quality museum that was rustic on the outside, but with the major emphasis on the inside with interactive exhibits. From the review and comments of our visitors and public at large, I feel we have accomplished this with authentic interactive/entertaining exhibits.
Since the opening in late Sept, 2010, the first 5 month's attendance has exceeded the old museum annual attendance. In addition, the museum's membership has tripled in this same time frame.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My wife and I were at the museum to look at the Wilkes Expedition Exhibit. As with everything at the museum the exhibit was very well done. The staff has created a number of very informative posters to imform the visitor about The Wilkes Expedition. The staff also provided a number of hands on experiences for the children who visitied the museum. We were fascinated by the amount of informationthat was provided for us to read and the somewhat unusual methods Wilkes used to discipline his crew on the voyage. Top notch job by the staff.

Review from Guidestar