Welcome to the San Juan Historical Museum, where we honor our heritage and history while working to learn from the collective experiences of the Island we call home. San Juan Island is an island off the coast of Washington State, and home to about 7,000 people. Some are descendants from pioneer families who arrived in the mid-19th century, and some arrivals only occurred last week. Together we strive to learn about those who came before us, and to fold into our own lives their rugged individualism, explorer instincts, and courage.
A visit to the Museum will allow you to step back in time – to 1894, when life on the island revolved around harvest times and ocean currents, rather than tourist seasons. As you walk the grounds and explore the restored James King farm house, the original county jail, and the Scribner log cabin, you begin to peel back the layers of the rich history and blend of cultures this island has hosted over the centuries.
The museum continues to pursue knowledge and artifacts. Who walked this land before us? We know a great deal about the British and American forces during the Pig War, the original town founders, the pioneer families and of the men and women who left the Island to fight wars on distant soils. But there is so much more to learn! We have only begun to explore the cultures of the Coast Salish peoples who consider San Juan Island to be their place of origin; the immigration of European, Hispanic and Asian families to the Pacific Northwest; and the effect of all cultures on daily life on San Juan Island.
There is much more work to be done. Currently, the barn on the Museum grounds is being converted into the Museum of History and Industry. Donations of money, time, artifacts, and the assistance of the community and visitors will help to bring the stories of the island’s fishing, farming, logging and lime industries together in this vibrant interactive experience.
Will you help us? Consider participating in one of our many ongoing projects: The Museum of History and Industry has two wings currently open, and work is progressing on the Farming and Fishing sections. What was once an old barn on the property is being converted to a modern, interactive museum with stories of the island’s fishing, farming, logging and lime industries, as a vibrant interactive experience. The Etta Egeland Resource Center is benefiting for a major archival restoration, and there are plenty of research opportunities available for amateur or professional historians.
Let us include your stories with those who came before –