Spending a lot of time paddling the Northwest's waters has given me a renewed appreciation of the Puget Sound's native tribes. I was getting ready to launch the other day when someone mentioned the new Suquamish Museum. We sail Suquamish/Port Madison waters regularly and drive through the community every time we take the Bainbridge ferry to Kitsap and continue to the Olympic peninsula. With the ferry ride, Suquamish is about an hour from downtown Seattle. It also happens to be the location of Chief Sealth's (Chief Seattle) gravesite.
The new $7.5 million, 9,000 square foot Suquamish museum is a tribute to the Suquamish tribe and culture. It's a snapshot of the tribe and details the past & present, and looks to the future of the Suquamish Nation. Artifacts are beautiful & nicely laid out. Admission prices are low and there's a quaint gift shop. There is a little room for more artifacts and I'm sure future exhibits will fill the space. They have one permanent gallery and one that periodically rotates.
What makes the stop even cooler is a visit nearby to Chief Sealth's grave. Sealth (the city of Seattle was named after him) was a Suquamish chief who led negotiations (or whatever you want to call them) with the white settlers in the 18oos. There were some interesting power plays going on among local tribes around this time, made way more complicated with arrival of the white-folk to this area. It's an interesting and sometimes controversial history that's worth a read. Anyway, the gravesite is beautiful & powerful and just a short walk from the museum parking lot.
The big question for a lot of our Seattle readers - is the Suquamish Museum & the Chief Sealth gravesite worth the ferry trip over from Seattle? I mean, can you make a day of it? Not quite. The museum is great and I highly recommend it but it could use a little more exhibit space. It might help if there was a special event happening at/near the museum. The museum website talks about future workshops, storytellers, and other events held on the grounds or in their sweet 50-seat auditorium - that would really add some content and complete the experience. Also, it would be great if their were more hands-on artifacts/exhibits for kids (there's not much at all).
Already on the Kitsap Peninsula with an hour to kill? Need a break from the casino?Haven't seen Chief Sealth's gravesite or the museum yet? Definitely worth a visit. Check out the museum and tribe websites below for more info and upcoming events.
~Paul & Amber ETC
The Suquamish Museum
The Suquamish Tribe
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