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Shoreline Historical Museum Debuts New Home

Museum operators hope to have the facility open to the public soon

The Shoreline Historical Museum turned a page of its own history Saturday at its annual luncheon as residents and local history buffs got a chance to see the museum’s new home on Linden Avenue North.

Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan cut a ribbon that hung at the entrance to the museum’s new office building at 18501 Linden Avenue N, ushering in a new era for the 35-year-old museum as it transitions into a smaller space after moving out of the Ronald School Building in anticipation of the school district turning the site into a new Shorewood High School.

Museum Executive Director Vicki Stiles said the move and the shock of losing the building that the museum occupied for the entirety of its 35-year history had been stressful, but she is grateful that the museum will live on and optimistic about its future.

“The most important thing is that we are moving forward,” Stiles said. “It’s a sunrise for us—it’s a new day.”

Since boxing up more than 12,000 artifacts and some 8,000 photos, a team of volunteers has been working to restore the two buildings to accommodate the exhibits and bring the structures up to code.

Les Tonkin, a Seattle Architect and community member, said much of the electrical and plumbing systems had to be replaced in the aging facility, and most of the work has been focused on getting the basic functions ready to go so the museum can reopen as soon as possible.

“It was a rough transition,” Tonkin said of the quick move. “But they [the volunteers] have done a magnificent job.”

Of the challenges, perhaps the most unusual was how to remove an early-century Ford Model T car from the Ronald School building. Volunteer Hal Schelegel said he and other volunteers had to partially disassemble the car and push it up a ramp through one of the building’s windows.

“We didn’t have a inch to spare,” he said.

Hoyne and Stiles said they expect to see the new building renovations completed in the coming weeks or months, with exhibits opening to the public soon.

Denise Estes May 05, 2011 at 05:16 PM
But WHAT ABOUT THE Building itself? That building was the very first school in this whole area and has stood for all these years becoming a big piece of historic Shoreline.... Ever since Shoreline has become a "city" it seems everything that brought Shoreline to what it is today, is being demolished. I'm curious, how many city council members actually have lived here their whole life compared to those who just moved here to take over, thinking they know what's best for those of us who HAVE lived here all our lives. Denise Estes Shoreline Resident
Lisa Surowiec May 05, 2011 at 06:26 PM
What do I like about this Museum? The spirit and the people involved. I had a lovely time visiting with people during the packing and moving of these artifacts; truly fascinating, wonderful folks. And while there are folks who will always mourn the end of the era in the Ronald building, the fact is that it is those same people who will continue to give energy and life to the collections. Ms. Stiles is amazing, and history will live on through her.
Janet Way May 06, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Dear Denise, I agree with you about the loss of the Ronald School Building, which truly should STILL be the home of the museum. But, sadly the Council just didn't get it, and the School District was determined to kick them out and suck the life out of the old building. So the new Museum will have to become a new place that reflects our history and hopefully the Museum Board will be active in promoting ways to protect what's left. I also agree with you and am concerned about other 'Places That Matter" here. We are now at a crucial moment in Shoreline. With the new Town Center planning and decisions underway, we have the chance to truly honor our past as we build for the future. Let's hope this council will "get it" this time and help create something unique in our Town Center that reflects our history and builds upon it to make a place we can be proud of, not just "Anywhere, USA". Please support the work of the Shoreline Preservation Society to accomplish this.

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