Museum opening July 17 with special Birnie exhibits


To The Eagle:

The board of directors of the Wahkiakum County Historical Society is pleased to announce the reopening of the Wahkiakum County Museum beginning July 17. Beginning on and after that date, the museum will once again be open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. through September 26. Public visiting hours will be 1-4 p.m. on each day.

The museum has been undergoing renovations to accommodate refurbished display cabinets and rearranged exhibits. In conjunction with reopening, and in cooperation with WCHS Vice-President David K. Hansen, the museum is pleased to offer a special exhibit of never-before seen items associated with Cathlamet Town Founder James Birnie. This includes:

• “Cheer, Boys, Cheer!” a Hudson’s Bay Company song transcribed by James Birnie and featured in Cathlamet’s 1946 Centennial celebration;

• The lock and key from the original James Birnie trading post which founded Cathlamet (1846);

• Cameo ring of Susan Birnie, daughter of James Birnie;

• Detailed manuscript description of early Cathlamet written by Leonard Birnie Andrews, grandson of James Birnie;

• Soup plate owned and used by James Birnie family, and

• “Friendship’s Gift” a book owned by Rose Birnie Roberts, sister of James Birnie and the first schoolteacher of Wahkiakum County.

The museum has been able to reopen and operate this year due to the financial assistance of Wahkiakum County and the Town of Cathlamet. Museum occupancy during open hours may be limited due to public health requirements for social distancing.

We are excited to reopen a refurbished Wahkiakum Museum with a special James Birnie exhibit in time for Bald Eagle Days (July 17). We are grateful to Wahkiakum County and the Town of Cathlamet for providing essential support to enable the museum to reopen and to David Hansen, son of Julia Butler Hansen, for loaning the special James Birnie items that will be on temporary exhibit. We look forward once again to welcoming visitors to safely enjoy the museum and join us in appreciating the unique history of Wahkiakum County.

David Olson

President, Wahkiakum County Historical Society


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