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Museum effort in the home stretch

SUQUAMISH — Suquamish tribal history will have a new home in the fall of 2011.

The tribe is beginning a final fundraising push for the planned Suquamish Museum building, to be built across from the Tribal Center.

The museum is the final installment in a series of Suquamish construction projects, which included the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center, the House of Awakened Culture, a dock and a renovation of the Chief Seattle gravesite.

“We’ve gotten all those other things off the ground, so now we’re coming together around the final part — the museum,” said Greta Stough, program analyst for the Suquamish Foundation, the fundraising arm of the tribe.

The Foundation will host “A Time to Gather” tonight in Suquamish. The event is both a fundraiser and a cultural celebration, featuring native performers and food (see box below for more information).

“We want it to be less about raising money and more about bringing together the community and different cultures,” Stough said.

The 9,000 square-foot new museum will include about 3,000 square feet of climate-controlled exhibit space, 1,500 square feet more than the current museum on Sandy Hook Road. Along with exhibits, the museum will feature an auditorium for classes and performances, an archive and research room, and a gift shop.

Museum staff are already preparing for the move.

Director Marilyn Jones said volunteers are in the midst of digitizing the museum’s massive archive, a job that will continue even after the new museum opens. Staff and volunteers are also creating new signs and preparing exhibits for the new museum.

“It’s really amazing how much you have to do even before you open the doors,” Jones said.

Stough said more than $1 million has already been raised for the new museum building. The foundation plans to raise another $1.5 to $2 million over the next year.

Construction will begin in the spring of 2011.

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