New Suquamish Museum opens to the public

Sculptures by Gloria Nusse are installed in the new Suquamish Museum, which opens to the public Saturday.                               - April Leigh / Suquamish Tribe
Sculptures by Gloria Nusse are installed in the new Suquamish Museum, which opens to the public Saturday.
— image credit: April Leigh / Suquamish Tribe

SUQUAMISH — The Suquamish Tribe will open the new Suquamish Museum to the public on Saturday.

Doors open at 10 a.m. The 9,000 square-foot museum is located on the corner of Division Street and Suquamish Way.

The new museum is triple the size of the previous museum and features two galleries, a performance space, museum store and outside learning areas.

Inside, the largest gallery houses the new permanent exhibit “Ancient Shores – Changing Tides,” where seven symbolic design elements illustrate an integrated cultural view of the Suquamish Tribe over time.

Included in the exhibit: Objects and artifacts owned by the Suquamish Museum, many never before exhibited, and those on loan from Suquamish families and other museums.

“The exhibit was consciously designed to offer visitors multiple ways of seeing, listening and doing to absorb the history and cultural environment of the Suquamish people,” museum director Janet Smoak said.

The smaller gallery will feature rotating exhibits throughout the year. The first temporary exhibition in the smaller gallery features art by Suquamish Tribe members and will continue through February.

The Suquamish art exhibit, a celebration of knowledge and talent, displays work from nearly 20 Tribe members, including bentwood boxes, carved bone jewelry, cedar baskets, wood carvings, wool regalia and weavings, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional fine art pieces.

Every year, the gallery will feature three to four exhibits on a number of different topics including history, art and science to help visitors explore other aspects of the Suquamish story and how it relates to others around the world.

Public lectures, documentary screenings, demonstrations and activity-based workshops will be featured in the 50-seat auditorium as a regular part of museum programming. Public and private schools and tour groups will also benefit from the space; the auditorium will be used to augment museum learning with hands-on activities and added content presentations.

The museum education program will also expand over the coming months to incorporate learning opportunities at other culturally significant sites on the Port Madison Reservation, including Old Man House Park and the gravesite of Chief Seattle.

An environmental and cultural resource education program, to debut in spring, will use the native habitat design of the museum grounds. Historically, the Suquamish Tribe relied on the bounty found all around them for food, clothing and housing. Outside spaces will be used to offer a glimpse into how those basic parts of family and community life were satisfied using the products of the local environment. Two exterior exhibit sheds will house wood carving and weaving demonstrations.

Carving and weaving helped produce much of the personal and home environmental needs by providing housing, tools, transportation, clothing, storage containers and decorative arts.

The museum will partner with the Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources and Fisheries to offer environmental education in 2013.

In the Leota Anthony Museum Store, manager Virginia Adams has assembled an array of merchandise celebrating Coast Salish design influence, along with Pendleton blankets in-store and available for special order.

The Suquamish Museum will be open year round, seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for a family, $5 for adults, $3 for seniors 55 and older, and $3 for children 17 and younger. Children 5 and younger get in for free.

The Suquamish Museum Friends Program is being revitalized in the coming months for those who would like a way to easily participate in programs and events plus enjoy free admission and discounted store merchandise and workshop fees.

For more information about the museum, visit


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