Archive for the ‘News’ Category

April 2018 AKCHO Board meeting report
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With the AKCHO Awards Program looming on the calendar, AKCHO board members devoted the bulk of their April meeting to ensuring that all of the bases are covered to ensure a smooth and fun evening on April 24. AKCHO President Alice Stenstrom has confirmed that King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles will serve as emcee, Awards Committee Chair Pat Filer has notified all of the honorees, and Awards Program Chair Judie Romeo is marshaling her forces to staff the event.

In other news, Advocacy Committee Chair Alice Winship reported on AKCHO’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the neighborhood around the Pike Place Market, where many are objecting to replacing the 3-story, century-old Hahn Building at the corner of First and Pike with a 14-story hotel tower. Winship talked about the need to anticipate some of these development threats further in advance.

Jennifer Meisner, director of the King County Historic Preservation Program, told the board that Boeing’s Red Barn was getting landmark status, and that Renton and Federal Way were signing InterLocal Agreements (ILAs) with the King County HPP. Covington also is working on that, which will leave the cities of SeaTac and Bellevue as the only sizable municipalities in the County not to have an ILA with the County. Meisner also said that the HPP will be offering a regional historic preservation workshop soon, and that her office also is hoping to have its GIS map go live and become available to the public.

Brian Carter, the lead for the Heritage program at 4Culture, talked about the current funding cycles that are open for applications. In the wake of the County Council’s vote to assume more oversight of 4Culture, the staff of that cultural development authority will be conducting a listening tour throughout the County. 



Please join us at the 2018 AKCHO Awards
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We are pleased to announce that King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who represents King County District 4, will preside over an evening of accolades and fun at AKCHO’s 2018 Annual Awards Program, happening Tuesday, April 24, 5-8 PM, at the Northwest African American Museum. 

Those being celebrated at the Awards Program this year are:

  • Barbara Nilson  – AKCHO Board Legacy Award
  • Jim Kelly, Eleanor Boba, Susan Connole, and Mikala Woodward – AKCHO Board Awards
  • Brian Carter – Charles Payton Award for Heritage Advocacy
  • Eastside Heritage Center and HistoryLink – Education Awards
  • The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington – Exhibit Award
  • Discovery Modelers Education Center, Issaquah Historical  Society, Newcastle Historical Society, and Black Diamond Historical Society – Long Term Project Awards
  • Ballard Locks Centennial Boat Parade – Single Impact Event Award
  • Maritime Folknet – Technology Award
  • David M. Buerge – Virginia Marie Folkins Award
  • Patricia Cosgrove – Willard Jue Memorial Award for Staff
  • Hal and Fran Seike – Willard Jue Memorial Award for Volunteers
  • Renton History Museum and UW Museology Students – Student Award

We warmly invite friends, family, and colleagues in the heritage and historic preservation fields to join us in celebrating the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations.

AKCHO is deeply grateful to the following for their sponsorship of the 2018 AKCHO Awards Program: 4Culture, Historical Research Associates, the Northwest African American Museum, The Center for Wooden Boats, DeGruv Liquid Catering and Events, and Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest wines. Their generous support makes it possible for us to offer free admission to this event – but advance reservations are required and will be accepted until April 17.

Invitations to the Awards event are going out in the mail this week, but you don’t have to wait to let us know you’re coming – just e-mail Barbara McMichael at and provide her with the names of those who will be attending, and their organizational affiliation (if any). We look forward to seeing you on April 24!



Creating exhibits that tell stories
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White River Valley Museum director Patricia Cosgrove

Is displaying a bunch of similar things an exhibit? According to Patricia Cosgrove, no.

The White River Valley Museum director, a recipient of several awards for inspired exhibits, discussed her underlying philosophy for exhibit design at the March AKCHO membership meeting – that the basis for all exhibit design should be to tell a story.

“Take the idea of things and look at them as story-making tools,” Cosgrove encouraged the audience. “Our collections are a bunch of ‘things’ waiting for their chance to tell a story.”

To illustrate, she led the audience through a series of slides that showed past exhibits at the White River Valley Museum. A few years ago, the loan to the Museum of some landscape paintings by well-regarded Tacoma artist Abby Williams Hill, for instance, was not just a chance to display some pretty pictures. The artwork also provided a way to talk about how railroad history, women’s history, and advertising history intersected at the beginning of the 20th century.

Between 1903 and 1906, Hill received several commissions from railroad companies to render scenes of some of the magnificent destinations travelers could expect to see along the Western routes. Hill was a working mom – she often took her four children along as she worked on her assignments, spending weeks in the wilderness.

For the exhibit at the White River Valley Museum, Cosgrove supplemented Hill’s paintings with a physical campsite set-up – helping visitors to imagine what it must have been like for a woman to conduct one’s art and work in the wild, while still keeping tabs on four youngsters.

Some of the questions from audience members reflected a frustration that many historical societies just don’t have the kind of staff and resources that are available to the White River Valley Museum.

Cosgrove, who was the first paid staff member of what once had been an all-volunteer operation, pushed back: even with limited resources, the idea of focusing on compelling stories is a scalable approach. Furthermore, volunteers at local historical societies shouldn’t hesitate to seek out assistance – from the general public as well as local electeds.

“‘Don’t be afraid to ask’ is one of the tenets of my career,” Cosgrove told the crowd.

She also talked about how spotlighting different stories over time can engage different kinds of visitors – at the White River Valley Museum, Cosgrove has done exhibits on veterans’ tattoos, quiltmaking, Japanese-American members of the World War II Military Intelligence Service, and – currently – women’s underwear.

HSFW president Jerry Knutzen speaks to AKCHO members

This AKCHO membership meeting was hosted by the Historical Society of Federal Way. HSFW President Jerry Knutzen shared some stories about the first small settlements in the area, and told how Federal Way got its name when four tiny school districts were combined into one larger district, and the locals decided to name it “Federal Way” after the new federally-funded Highway 99 that was being built through the midst of their community. The name eventually was adopted by the entire community.

“As far as we know, we’re the only city in the country that’s named after a federal highway,” Knutzen said.


Puget Sound Regional Archives celebrates 20 years
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Puget Sound Branch Research Assistant Phil Stairs is dwarfed by the collections

On March 27, the Puget Sound Branch of the Washington State Archives held an open house to celebrate 20 years at the Bellevue College campus in the Pritchard-Fleming Building. Over those two decades, more than 25,500 cubic feet have been added to the archival collection, and the Puget Sound Branch has handled over 100,000 research requests, and made more than 862,000 copies and scans for researchers.During the open house, Archives staff (Regional Archivist Michael Saunders, Branch Archivist Midori Okazaki and Research Assistant Philippa Stairs) led tours of the collections, which include the public records of King, Kitsap and Pierce Counties. Documents range from property assessments to minutes of public meetings to fecal coliform studies of local waterways.

In the classroom outside of the collections, hors d’oeuvres, punch and lots of cake were the order of the day as well-wishers came through to celebrate the work the Archives has performed over the last twenty years.


King County Council votes for more oversight of 4Culture
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After debating the merits of proposed Ordinance 2018-0086, the King County Council on Monday (March 19) approved the measure by a 6-3 vote

The King County Council has passed a controversial measure that will give it more authority over the governance of 4Culture. Ordinance 2018-0086 gives the Council the power to confirm the hiring of the new executive director after current director Jim Kelly retires; it will approve 4Culture’s annual budget, and it will give the Council a more direct role in selecting people to serve on 4Culture’s board.

“These are three small improvements to the way we interact with 4Culture,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove (District 5), who had introduced the measure in January. Councilmember Rod Dembowski (District 1) praised the new set of rules as “reasonable and modest reforms” and Councilmember Kathy Lambert (District 3) voiced the hope that this would be “a step forward in better communication and better clarity.”

Not all of their colleagues on the Council shared those sentiments. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (District 4) lamented that the councilmembers who proposed the ordinance hadn’t reached out to the cultural community in advance to gain insights that would guide the design of the measure. She said the move caught her by surprise, as well. Although she serves as an ex officio member of 4Culture’s board, she said she hadn’t been consulted by her fellow councilmembers before they introduced the ordinance. “That seems, frankly, very bizarre,” she said.

Councilmember Joe McDermott (District 8) called the action “a hostile takeover of the 4Culture board.” 

Councilmember Claudia Balducci (District 6) joined Kohl-Welles and McDermott in voting against the measure.

In public comment sessions prior to the vote at this meeting, as well as at previous Committee of the Whole meetings, the audience was packed with 4Culture supporters, and almost all of the people who gave public testimony decried the Council’s effort to encroach on the cultural development authority’s independence.

But citing this measure as an opportunity to ensure more equitable geographical distribution of 4Culture funding, as well as an impetus to do a better job of reaching underserved populations, Councilmembers Upthegrove, Gossett, Dembowski, Dunn (District 9), Lambert and von Reichbauer (District 7) voted in favor of the measure.



Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!


2018 Awards Program

AKCHO 2018 Annual Awards Invitation



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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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