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Give Local: Volunteering to Preserve Issaquah’s History

By November 21, 2020Connections
Rebecca Lawrence Issaquah History Museums

Issaquah History Museums

Issaquah History MuseumsI have always been passionate about museums. My lifelong hobby of seeking out museums wherever I go was first inspired by an elementary school field trip to a local history museum.

I continued this appreciation as a student in the University of Washington’s certificate program in museum studies. In 2011, I came to the Issaquah History Museums (IHM) as a practicum project student. As a result of my project, I discovered working to preserve Issaquah’s past provided me with a rewarding and meaningful way to connect with my community, while also contributing my time and skills to further the museum’s mission.

Over the years, my volunteer work at the Issaquah History Museums has largely focused on caring for the museum’s collections. In this role, I assist IHM Collections Manager Julie Hunter with a variety of hands-on tasks, including cataloging artifacts, documenting the condition of collection items, and preparing artifacts for exhibits and storage. I have interacted with a broad range of artifacts, from paper-based collections and photos to three-dimensional objects. My volunteer experience has also included collaborating with other volunteers to design exhibits.

At this time, the Issaquah History Museum’s two locations, the Gilman Town Hall Museum and the Issaquah Depot Museum, have temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I have been exploring new ways to stay engaged as a volunteer. I am currently assisting with the organization’s fall fundraiser, “Collecting History, Connecting Community,” and am also attending the museum’s virtual “History Happy Hour” series. Both opportunities have been instrumental in helping me stay in touch with fellow volunteers while providing another great way to learn more about Issaquah.

Whether you are inspired to discover Issaquah’s history or motivated to connect with the community, museum volunteers of all ages and backgrounds bring unique talents, interests, and skills to the organization. There are many ways to contribute to the current needs of the museum, from transcribing documents and assisting with fundraising, to participating in virtual programming.

For IHM volunteer information, visit

As published in November 2020 Connections >>