Every Object Tells a Story

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1 a newsletter of the white river valley museum January 2016 Featured History Page 1, 4 New Gifts to the Collection What s Happening? Page 2 Purse Swaps and Overnignts Things To Do Page 3 Vital Volunteers From the Back Room Page 10 Science Up! Good News! Page 11 New Face for Museum FEATURED HISTORY Every Object Tells a Story Select Gifts Made in 2015 to the Museum s Artifact Collection By Hilary Pittenger, Curator of Collections Every object tells a story. Sometimes, the story is clear and easy to understand, like when you read a diary. Other times, the story might be hidden and require some historical sleuthing to uncover. In 2015, the White River Valley Museum added nearly 300 objects to its collection, including 157 photographs, 52 new additions to its archives, 14 new library books, and 68 three-dimensional objects. That s a lot of detective work! Here are just a few of the stories we have gathered from our newest donations. The Polaroid Land Model 95 Instant Camera was the first commercially available instant camera. Produced from 1948 to 1953, the camera included a handy instruction card on the back to teach new photographers how to operate the camera. Polaroid Land Camera, Model 95, 1948 Gift of Peter LaPointe Continued on page 4

2 WHAT S HAPPENING Things To Do Small Bags for Big Events 100 Years of Pretty Purses A Dazzling Display Of 150 Evening Bags And Their Contents, With A Special Showing Of Rhinestone Jewelry Including every material you can think of from beads to brocade, and mesh to mother-of-pearl, Small Bags for Big Events is not just a show of pretty purses, although for sure it is a dazzler. Woven throughout are displays and statements about what a woman of each era might carry in her bag. A tiny linen hanky might fill a drawstring lace bag of the 1870s. But by the 1920s, both scandalous and not-so-daring young women would fill their gold beaded bag with deep breath rouge and powder! By the 1950s a women s sizable flower-patterned, plastic handbag most likely contained car keys, lipstick, a mirror and cash! Sponsored by 4Culture and curated by vintage fashion guru Kate Slaminko, Small Bags for Big Events is on display through June 19. Big Swap February 11 Bag Registration at 7 p.m., Swap Begins at 7:30 p.m. Bring an excellent condition handbag valued between $60 - $120 to swap or steal in a friendly purse centered white elephant! Wine and light refreshments included. 21 and up only. $20 per person/$5 per steal, registration required. Overnight At The Museum Mythical Creatures March p.m. - 8 a.m. Kids age 7 12 will love spending the night playing games, going on scavenger hunts and watching a movie at this activity packed overnight! Cost: $30 per child, registration required. Late Play Dates First Thursday of Every Month Bring the kids to the Museum for themed activities and crafts perfect for families and community groups with kids age Free, no registration required. 6-8 p.m. Preserving Your Family Treasures Curator of Collections Hilary Pittenger will share her best tips and tricks for preserving your family s treasures. Bring your questions! Each program begins at 1 p.m. and is included in regular Museum admission or membership. No registration required. February 27 Preserving Photographs March 26 Taking Care of Textiles April 23 Protecting Silver and Jewelry Register for Museum events online at wrvmuseum.org.

3 Museum Docent Training January 19 10:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. Are you interested in local history, art and culture? Would you like to learn more about the region s history and share your knowledge with Museum guests? Then join us at our annual docent training! The Museum needs trained docents to serve as greeters, gallery guards and to act as educational resources for our visitors. Ideal docents can volunteer at the Museum during regular open hours at least once a month. Please contact Janet Wells for more information or to R.S.V.P for training at or WHAT S HAPPENING Things To Do Volunteer at the White River Valley Museum! We are always looking for new faces to join our crew of superstar Museum volunteers. Please join us at one of our upcoming volunteer trainings! Museum Fieldtrip Guide Training January a.m. noon Do you love local history, hands on learning, and fun? Are you great with kids and would love to teach them about the region s history? Then you may be the perfect Museum fieldtrip guide! Our fieldtrip guides are trained to present programs to elementary level students that explore the history and lives of early settlers, Native Americans tribes, Japanese immigrants and more. Great guides are able to present at least one fieldtrip per week March early June. Please contact Janet Wells for more information or to R.S.V.P for training at or

4 FEATURED HISTORY Every Object Tells a Story Select Gifts Made in 2015 to the Museum s Artifact Collection By Hilary Pittenger, Curator of Collections Continued from page1 Polaroid Land Camera At a mere four pounds, the camera was much more portable than many of its contemporaries, and the new instant film it used developed in under a minute. Over 800,000 of these cameras were produced, flooding the amateur photography market with a new and popular tool for recording everyday events. As photography became more affordable and accessible, people began to take silly photographs, photographs of their pets, and photographs of casual social events, instead of just the stiffly formal portraits of the past. This gives us a unique, candid look at how people lived in this time period, and also gives us a chance to see people from less affluent backgrounds who couldn t afford to be photographed in previous decades. Valley Association Football Champions Trophy Gift of Peter LaPointe The high school football championship was once the most important athletic event of the season in the White River Valley. Arch-rivals Auburn High School and Kent High School competed alongside other valley-area football teams throughout most of the 20th century to claim the title of regional champion. The report of a particularly brutal game article in the December 1st, 1922 edition of the Auburn Glove-Republican gives us a glimpse at the strength of the Kent-Auburn rivalry: Claude French [Kent quarterback] and his band of score-hungry Kent gridiron warriors came over yesterday and garnished Auburn s Thanksgiving turkey with sprigs of poison ivy. Amazed, aghast and appalled, a thousand palefaced local fans looked on in silence while the Kent machine battered and fought its way through the disrupted Auburn aggregation for seven touchdowns, brushing aside the weak efforts of the injury-riddled Green and White players The game ended with a score of 45 to 0.

5 Founded in 1867, the White River Presbyterian Church was one of the oldest Christian churches in Auburn. When it closed in 2009, many of its records were sent to the Seattle Presbyter for archiving but not the records of its Ladies Aid Society. The Ladies Aid Society, later renamed the Presbyterian Missionary Society, the Women s Missionary Society, and the Woman s Association, carried out a significant portion of the church s functions and on-the-ground service work. The preserved minutes from 1908 show how the Society raised and allocated funds for the construction and upkeep of the church building and parsonage, regularly cleaned the church and stocked its pantry, and organized community charity events and holiday programs. Audio Recording of the Northern Pacific Engine No c Gift of Barbara Malesis It can be difficult to imagine the more visceral details of life in another place or time period how did lye soap smell? What did it feel like to sleep on a straw mattress? While we can t yet record smells or tastes, we have developed technology that allows us to capture the sounds of the past. This audio cassette contains a 45-minute recording of the sounds of Northern Pacific Railway s Engine No There is no narration, only the sounds of the train s wheels, engine, whistle, and the fading chime of passing railway signals as the train made its way on its regular passenger service run between Seattle and Missoula, Montana. Minutes of the White River Presbyterian Church s Ladies Aid Society Gift of Sandy Pautz

6 Wool Travelling Suit 1962 Gift of Joan Mason In the early 20th century, travel was both a burden and a luxury. Books of etiquette and fashion magazines advised women on how to behave, speak, and most especially dress while travelling by ship, train, or automobile. When undertaking extended trips, women with the money to do so would make or purchase a travelling suit, a full outfit (or possibly several outfits) that were intended to both withstand the rigors of travel and make you look good doing it. This travelling suit was worn by a young newlywed on her tour of Europe before reuniting with her husband in Turkey. In the 1950s travel became less arduous and less glamorous, so the traveling suit began to fall out of favor. Despite this, the young bride s mother, herself a product of the 1920s and 1930s, was insistent that her daughter have a travelling suit to wear on her international trip. Northern Pacific Railway Transportation Rules Book 1926 Gift of John H. Jack Christensen This Transportation Rules book was the employee manual for all Northern Pacific Railway workers. The book contained everything an employee might need to know to carry out their duties, including hand signals, how to interpret train whistles, semaphore code, and the expectations of different types of employees. A Foreman was instructed to carry a reliable watch and always have with them a copy of the current time-table, while a Passenger Conductor was expected to assist women, children and the infirm and protect them against rudeness, threatened violence, abusive or obscene language, or annoyance from intoxicated or quarrelsome persons. Ordinary People, Extraordinary History 6

7 This book is the first history textbook especially written for use at the Muckleshoot Tribal School on the Muckleshoot Reservation. The book focuses on issues surrounding the nationhood and cultural survival of the Muckleshoot people, and compares historical views and events with current-day issues including treaty and fishing rights, economic development on reservation lands, and important historical figures in the past and current Muckleshoot Tribe. The Museum was excited to partner with the publishers to provide some of the historical photographs used in this textbook. Up From the Ashes: Nation Building at Muckleshoot 2014 Gift of Seattle Publishing Muckleshoot fishing weir c 1900, #139. Hop pickers summer encampment, c 1900, #

8 The Evans Family, Japanese American friends and the Evans Family Home. The Evans family lived along the Green River on the north side of Auburn in the early 1900s. Portions of their property can still be seen and enjoyed in the Isaac Evans Park and the Auburn Golf Course. The house seen in this image is still standing along of the Green River Road across the street from Isaac Evan s Park. The couple on the left are Daisy and Isaac Evans, along with the family dog and cat. The couple on the right are not identified, but were most likely farmers who were renting land from the Evans family. The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1885 and not repealed until 1943, prevented non-citizens of Asian descent from purchasing land in the United States. Instead, those families choices were to labor for other farmers or to rent farmland to make a living. Ordinary People, Extraordinary History 8

9 No More Bells, Nor Whistles: Washington State Railroads 2014 Gift of the Washington State Railroad Historical Society Princess Angeline Cabinet Card c Gift of Sylvia Cavness Kikisoblu, popularly known as Princess Angeline, was a member of the Suquamish Tribe who resided in the Seattle area from the 1820s to She was the eldest daughter of Chief Seattle, and her photograph was often featured on cabinet cards like this one and other tourist memorabilia. Despite her relative fame as a tourist attraction and unofficial city mascot, she lived a difficult life as a laundress in Seattle and was often photographed in front of her tiny shack close to the waterfront. Like many other pieces of tourist ephemera from the period, this cabinet card was sold to tourists as a curiosity rather than a celebration of Kikisoblu and other native peoples from the region, and it exploited her image without providing her any of the economic or social benefits that such fame would likely have benefited a person of European descent. This book is an exhaustive catalog of all the railroad and railroad-adjacent businesses that ever incorporated or purchased right-of-ways in Washington State. Many industries owned (or planned to own) small railroad lines, including coal mining operations, lumber companies, and railway investors hoping to cash in on the railroad building bubble of the 1880s. Of special interest to the White River Valley region are descriptions of tiny railroad companies that tried to establish themselves in the area. The Green River Valley Railway Company, according to the text, proposed to construct a railroad extending from the Green River Hot Springs along Green River Valley to Slaughter to the tidewaters on the Puget Sound. This railway was never built, but the company s existence gives us a window into what were seen as desirable and important destinations in the valley in the late 19th century

10 FROM THE BACK ROOM It s Time to Science Up Farm Fieldtrips By Rachael McAlister Curator of Education The Mary Olson Farm s largest group of visitors each year are school age children who tour the site on curricular based fieldtrips. Since 2007 we have seen over 15,000 students. Our fieldtrip program was carefully developed to meet state and national educational standards and compliment the classroom learning of first and sixth grade students. Farm fieldtrips are an opportunity for students to get hands-on, experiential learning while having fun! For the past seven seasons first graders came to the Farm and learned about where their food comes from while doing activities like pressing cider or feeding chickens. On sixth grade fieldtrips students learned all about the lives of salmon in Olson Stream by observing their habitats and studying their lifecycles. With the 2015 adoption of new national standards such as the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards our sixth grade fieldtrip was no longer needed those students were no longer studying stream ecology. 10

11 Good News! So we were tasked with finding the right grade level, studying the right subject, at the right time of year to take advantage of the opportunity of witnessing salmon spawn at the Mary Olson Farm. The match we found was eighth grade. Working with these older more mature students caused us to science-up and create a fieldtrip experience that uses more sophisticated language and technology but still takes advantage of the remarkable experience of actually seeing salmon spawn. Working with Auburn teachers, Laine Lenihan and Melissa Messmer we did just that and designed fieldtrip experiences to match the goals of eighth grade science. The focus of our new fieldtrips are broad topics like watersheds, scientific monitoring and human impact on the environment. Today, prior to coming to the Farm students complete classroom lessons on the Duwamish watershed, food webs, ecosystems and conservation. While at the Farm their classroom learning is put to the test at four stations that explore real life applications of the scientific theory they have studied. * Students perform environmental monitoring, testing the stream s water level, temperature, PH and dissolved oxygen level. * They learn about native plants and erosion while using tape measures and math equations to determine if the stream has the appropriate density of plantings within the riparian zone. * They even learn how to estimate the height of trees to see if they provide enough shade to keep the stream cool which is vital for salmon. * All of the data the students collect is added to a shared spreadsheet so classrooms can review the changes in the stream over time. New Face for Museum! Over the next couple of years the City of Auburn will invest in upgrades to the Community Campus and Les Gove Park, and due to a $175,000 grant from 4Culture, 2016 and 2017 will be years of physical change at the Museum! Auburn architect Alan Keimig has donated his time to develop schematic drawings that turn the enclosed and dark Museum entry into a glassed-in open and inviting space surrounded by improved plantings, lit walkways and sculpture. Excitingly, this is only the first of a two part project. If successful with other grants, our small garage building will be converted into a classroom and rental space, and an outdoor amphitheater will attract Park visitors and invite them to the Museum s new front door

12 White River Valley Historical Society 918 H Street SE Auburn, WA NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID AUBURN, WA PERMIT NO Address service requested 2016 Board Members Mike Weibel President Toya Turner Vice President Treasurer Ronnie Beyersdorf Secretary Kim Perry Past President Send us your address to if you wish to receive our monthly e-newsletter, thanks! Jackie Swanson Muckleshoot Tribal Representative Jeff Black Tim Carstens Ruby Elwood Bill Greene Dave Larberg Doug Lein Joan Mason Bill Sundqvist Museum Staff Patricia Cosgrove Director Rachael McAlister Curator of Education Ashley Rust Education Assistant Hilary Pittenger Curator of Collections Ruth Leenstra Bookkeeper Janet Wells Volunteer and Facilities Coordinator White River Journal is a quarterly publication of the White River Valley Museum, which is supported in large part by City of Auburn. Museum Gift Shop Next time you need a hostess gift or a birthday present, think of the Museum Shop for fun and often unusual presents. The selection of kids books is not big, but it includes only the best! These collectible versions of Red Riding Hood and Kitty s ABC are illustrated read-aloud books which are both beautiful to behold and of keepsake quality, only $9.95. White River Journal is edited by Patricia Cosgrove, designed by Jan Hoy Design White River Valley Museum 918 H Street SE Auburn, WA, Tel Fax wrvmuseum.org Museum Open: Noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, 6 to 8 p.m. first Thursday and by appointment for group tours and research. Admission: $2 for children and seniors, $5 for adults. Museum members free. First Thursday and third Sunday free. Provides Ongoing Support