The museum offers 7,000 square feet of permanent galleries showcasing the rich, unique heritage of the Gig Harbor Peninsula. Unique artifacts, video kiosks, hands-on exhibits, computer interactives, and a small theater bring Peninsula history to life in our permanent galleries.
Special Exhibition Gallery
With a Loving Eye: The Photographs of Jini Dellaccio
November 18, 2017 – April 29, 2018
Thanks to a generous gift from the Jini Dellaccio Collection, we are excited to announce that the work of photographer Jini Dellaccio (January 31, 1917 - July 3, 2014) will not only be making its return to Harbor History Museum in November, 2017, but will also be the inaugural exhibit in Harbor History Museum's new Traveling Exhibition program. The remarkable collection of fashion, music, and portrait photography in stunning, large-format prints debuted at Harbor History Museum in 2012. With a Loving Eye: The Photographs of Jini Dellaccio will premiere at the Harbor History Museum and be expanded through a partnership with the University of Washington's Special Collections to share Dellaccio's story and work across the globe.
Jini Dellaccio left a legacy of breathtaking imagery, capturing time, place and people with uncompromising precision. Her ability to emotionally bond with her subjects lends an intimate quality to her work that is difficult to convey in her chosen medium. It is a measure of the complexity of this artist that her most memorable work involves sympathetic portraits of menacing proto-punk garage bands from the working-class towns of the Pacific Northwest.
A teaching position in Tacoma beckoned the Dellaccios to Gig Harbor in 1962, and Jini's passion for photography blossomed. The Dellaccio home in Gig Harbor was designed for them by famed modernist architect Alan Liddle. It was in that lush waterfront environment where much of Dellaccio's signature work was created. Her stylistic approach reflected the era's prominent Northwest School art movement, which found painters, architects, designers and photographers embracing the natural surroundings of the region. Dellaccio frequently photographed her subjects in and around her Gig Harbor property.
Light and Shadow by Pat Meras
February 16, 2018 - April 22, 2018
Local artist Pat Meras' Light and Shadow: Landscape Paintings in Soft Pastel conveys an emotional and intuitive response to the mystery and serenity of the landscape in light and shadow. Meras paints from scenes of the Northwest and her travels. Photographs, field studies and memories inform her work in the studio. More drawn by the pattern of light and shadow created by the subject, than by the subject itself, these abstract shapes provide a prominent compositional element in Meras' work.
A Montana native, Meras received her BA in Applied Art from Montana State University, Bozeman which included studies abroad in Italy and the Netherlands. After working in charcoal, colored pencil, watercolor, oil pastel, collage and mixed media printmaking, Meras found pastel to be a wonderful link between drawing and painting. It has been her medium of choice for over 20 years.
While living on a lake near Gig Harbor, water, an ever changing landscape with its dreamy nuances of light became a constant subject to explore. The pastel sticks allow for thick and thin lines, scumbling, deliberate studied strokes and bold gestural mark-making, fostering a passionate poetic language. Working intuitively, with only enough detail to produce the impression that inspired her, Meras hopefully compels the viewer to interpret her work from their own rich pool of memories, impressions and experiences, and in a little different way each time they encounter it. And, of course, it's all about the light.
All of our K-12 school programs are fully facilitated experiences led by a team of specially trained staff and volunteers. We work hard to make sure that your students are engaged and enthralled with their venture back in time. While our admission for general public visitors is free--and students are always encouraged to make return visits with their families--our school program fees are necessary to cover the cost of staffing, supplies, and maintaining our unique facilities.
Pioneer School Experience
The award-winning Pioneer School Experience, in the restored Midway Schoolhouse and museum galleries, is an opportunity for school groups to step back in time, learn local history, and relive schoolhouse life at the turn of the century. Participants are immersed in four hours of continuous programming with curriculum designed to meet several Washington State Education Standards. In this program, students visit our permanent galleries, special exhibition gallery, and participate in a lesson circa 1901.
Price: $7 per student
Program Available T-F (10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
Primary Museum Experience
The Primary Museum Experience is an instructor-led introduction to the museum. Students in grades K-2 learn museum etiquette, visit the restored Midway Schoolhouse, participate in an I Spy activity and enjoy a hands-on tour of the main and maritime galleries.
Price: $5 per student
Program Available: T-F (Available during museum hours; 1.5 hour program)
If you would like more information or to schedule a field trip please fill out our Field Trip Form.
The 65-foot purse seiner, Shenandoah, was donated to the Museum in 2000. The fishing vessel was owned by Tony Janovich, who donated it to the Museum shortly after his retirement. Currently, we are in the process of restoring the vessel. If you would like to volunteer on the restoration please click here. Also to follow the progress of the restoration click here.
The Harbor History Museum houses a vast array of collections relating to the Gig Harbor Peninsula and surrounding communities. The Museum also serves as the official repository for the fallen Tacoma Narrows Bridge nicknamed "Galloping Gertie."
If you are interested in conducting your own research please call 253-858-6722 for information on hours and collection availability or email the research team.