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
Legacy: The Art of Heritage - The Glenn Sutt Basket Collection
June 21, 2019 - August 31, 2019
Legacy: The Art of Heritage - The Glenn Sutt Basket Collection will be on view Friday June 21, 2019 through Saturday, August 31, 2019. This exhibit features Harbor History Museum's legacy gift from the estate of collector Glenn Sutt, including the 43 baskets he originally loaned to the Museum back in 2008 for the "Woven Stories" exhibit. The exhibit design is inspired by columnar basalt formations found around the Northwest and highlights the larger baskets in the collection. Cases contain the numerous smaller baskets so visitors are able to see the beautiful work up close. The exhibit also includes a "Resonance Diary" where visitors are encouraged to write about a favorite basket in the exhibit and why it resonates with them.
Klickitat, Tlingit, Wasco, Makah, Nisqually and many more native basket makers are represented in Legacy: The Art of Heritage - The Glenn Sutt Basket Collection. The collection numbers 90 baskets in all and is an amazing spectrum of styles and materials. One of the smallest baskets is a tiny trinket basket made in the style of a Wasco bag; while one of the largest is a Klickitat berry basket. Perhaps one of the most interesting pieces representative of the crossover between native and Euro-American cultures is a basketry-covered liquor bottle dated between 1890-1910. In addition to baskets, Sutt collected native beadwork and carvings, as well as Fur Trade-era guns. He was very active at Fort Nisqually, both as a volunteer and foundation board member.
“From Makah hats with intricate whale scenes to finely woven lidded baskets and Northeastern birch bark baskets embellished with porcupine quills — this collection is truly stunning in its diversity and style,” - Stephanie Lile, Director and Curator at HHM
A Far-Reaching Fragrance by Patsy Surh O’Connell
July 1 - September 1, 2019
Patsy Surh O’Connell was born in Shanghai, China of Korean parents, and lived in Korea before coming to America as a student in 1963 graduating Interior Design School in San Francisco CA. She served as Board of Trustees member on Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) for two terms through 1997-2004. Patsy founded the nonprofit Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in WA in 1996 where 47 countries of Asia and the Pacific Islands are represented in her community. The mission of the organization is bridging communities and generations through arts, culture, education, and business.
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. Due to fire code, we cannot accommodate classes over 60 students.
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.
Thank you to the following organizations for support of our School Programs: —————————— Gig Harbor Garden Tour The Baker Foundation The DV and Ida McEachern Foundation ——————————
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.
Thanks to the following for support of the Shenandoah Project: —————————— Washington State Heritage Capital Project Fund Pierce County Historic Preservation Fund Port of Tacoma Individual Donors ——————————