'Chief Seattle' exhibit leaving Suquamish Museum

SUQUAMISH —If in the last 28 years you haven’t seen the detailed exhibit, "Eyes of Chief Seattle," at the Suquamish Museum, this week is your last chance.

In anticipation of the tribe's new museum, to be completed in spring 2012, the Suquamish Museum is closing its popular, long-running exhibit following a free open house this Thursday, from 2-7 p.m.

“It's as much to honor the retiring of the exhibit as to celebrate (the) last time viewing,” said Janet Smoak, executive director of the museum. “It's had an amazingly successful run.”

"Eyes of Chief Seattle" and its correlating exhibit, "Old Man House, the People and their Way of Life at D’ Suq’ Wub," explores the life of the Suquamish Tribe through the 19th century, when Chief Sealth — Seattle is an Anglicization of his name — sought peace with European and American settlers and signed the Point Elliot Treaty in 1855 with the U.S. government. The exhibit also details the history and destruction of Old Man House and what it represents to the tribe. It also includes a film, "Come Forth Laughing - Voices of the Suquamish People."

The museum will host a temporary exhibit from October to mid-May, featuring Martha George’s basket collection. George was a master basketweaver, and had also traded with basket makers all over the country. Her collection, which she donated to the museum upon her death, will display the natural resources the Suquamish people used, prominently cedar, and the cultural patterns of the tribe.

“When building a new museum, at the same time (directors will) plan a new installation of exhibits,” Smoak said. “It allows us to reimagine” cultural themes within the tribe. She added that the Chief Seattle exhibit will soon become a traveling exhibit. "It won’t disappear," she said.

“Visitors from all over the world have come” to the museum, said curator Lydia Sigo Woods. “People know about Chief Seattle. They want to learn more about his tribe, see his gravesite ... The exhibit is a powerful way to tell about the tribal people (and) stories not known.”


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