Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Inclusive futures for museums
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Nicole Ivy talks with an audience member after her presentation at Washington Hall

In Washington Hall, a place that has soaked up the creative vibes of everyone from Duke Ellington to Elvis Costello, Marian Anderson to Mark Morris, and Danish theatrical productions in the early 1900s to Nu Black Arts West Theatre in this century, the spirit of inclusion was operating in full force on the night of December 6 when Dr. Nicole Ivy came to town, courtesy of 4Culture and the University of Washington’s Department of Museology.

As the first Director of Inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums, Ivy had come to discuss her work in studying museum trends, with a particular focus on diversity and the future of labor in the field. Prior to her current appointment, Ivy served as a museum futurist for AAM under a fellowship of the Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). 

In her Seattle appearance, Ivy started invited the audience to consider demographic trends in the United States. One hundred years ago, more than 90 percent of the United States’ population was Caucasian, but over time that number has slipped to 66 percent, and is continuing to trend downward. Meanwhile, the percentage of museum-goers in the United States today is still predominantly white – over 90 percent.

And when it comes to people currently working in museums, while approximately half of the security and facilities maintenance jobs are held by non-whites, leadership positions continue to be dominated by Caucasians at around 90 percent. With the population becoming increasingly diverse, unless museums transform with the times, they are in danger of losing their relatability and relevance.

Ivy dug into Seattle’s demographic trends in particular — the two most rapidly growing populations in Seattle are the people under five years of age or over 60. Creative aging is becoming increasingly important, Ivy noted, and she challenged museums to figure out ways to address that. She also proposed that intergenerational activities involving these two fastest-growing sectors could be successful.

Seattle is also recognized for its significant population of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000). With that sector’s propensity for ethical consumerism, Ivy challenged museums to think about what that could mean in the years ahead as that generation inherits the wealth of their Baby Boomer parents. 

“Inclusion is a process,” Ivy said, “not a destination.” She encouraged her listeners to exercise strategic foresight by considering the acronym STEEP – Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological and Political trends that the museum world may be able to interact with in a multitude of ways

“Museums are a force for social change,” she concluded, and left the audience with some questions to consider: 

  • What is the work force we want to see?
  • How do our processes help us get there?
  • What do our hiring practices look like?

Preceding Ivy’s talk, 4Culture’s Brian Carter and Chieko Phillips gave a reprise presentation of their King County Heritage Report, completed earlier this year. 


Presentation proposals being accepted by Heritage Caucus
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The 2017 legislative session begins on January 9, 2017, with the first meeting of the Washington State’s Heritage Caucus on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  Proposals are now being accepted for presentations during the regular meetings of the Heritage Caucus, on Wednesdays at 7 AM, Cherberg Building, Room A-B-C, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. 

As a reminder, presentations need to be 10 minutes or less, and must fit into one of the following prioritized categories:

  • Immediate policy issues; pending legislation; current initiatives 
  • Relevant or upcoming policy issues; proposed future legislation or initiatives 
  • Overviews of state funded and heritage organization activities (current exhibits, programs, etc.) 

Please keep in mind that the budget will continue to be the focus of the Legislature this session, and a portion of Caucus time will be devoted to discussions related to the budget and implementation policies. Caucus chairs are Senator Jim Honeyford and Representative Steve Tharinger. 

Provide the following information in your proposal, and send via email: 

  • presentation title
  • names, titles, and organizational affiliation of presenters
  • a detailed outline of your presentation, including its priority category from the list above
  • technological needs (DVD, computer, internet access, projector, and screen are available)
  • a list of all state legislators in your district, (

Presenters will be notified as soon as possible about scheduling. 

If you would like to have a bill(s) tracked please email Glenda Carino:

Glenda Carino, Communications Manager
Washington State Arts Commission

For those of you new to Caucus, we meet in the John A. Cherberg building in Conference rooms A-B-C, (see map 304 15th Avenue Southwest, Olympia, WA 98501. Metered parking begins at 8am in the area surrounding the building. You can also find information about campus parking here,

Contact Mark Vessey at the Washington State Historical Society if you wish to be added to the e-mail list for Heritage Caucus.


Capturing oral histories
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AKCHO members listen to Liz Stewart talk about oral histories at the Renton History Museum

How to identify oral history subjects, conduct the interviews, and then preserve and use the results was the topic of AKCHO’s November membership meeting, held at the Renton History Museum.

Museum director Dr. Elizabeth Stewart shared her institution’s early focus on collecting the stories of Renton pioneers – those tended to focus on Renton’s earliest industries: Pacific Car & Foundry, coal mining, and airplane manufacturing. Stewart said the Museum also has recordings of traditional Duwamish songs sung by Joe Moses, the father of Henry Moses, who was an early sports star of Renton High School. The Museum, which has taped 145 oral history interviews since 1975, now seeks to capture the diverse voices of more recent arrivals to Renton.

Stewart noted that special skills are required to conduct oral histories, and since the Museum has only a small staff, she depends on volunteers to do this work – with the number of people available to help ebbing and flowing over time. The Museum sometimes finds opportunities to gather oral histories while assisting others, such as the Museum’s recent work with the Renton Parks Department in developing Heritage Park, a project which focused on a predominantly African American neighborhood in Renton. In another project, the Museum is archiving completed short films that have been shot in Renton in conjunction with the Seattle International Film Festival’s presence there. While these are generally fictional films, they do capture the look, feel, and sound of the place at a moment in time. Stewart also shared an instance of a recent oral history collection effort that wasn’t very successful, and encouraged audience members to talk about their experiences – good and bad – in collecting oral histories. 

The group also covered the ways oral histories might be used: by researchers, in exhibits, as reference materials for staff, and – Stewart forecasts – more and more in multimedia presentations. “Podcasts are coming!” she said.

Before the meeting came to a close, there was a discussion around the urgent necessity of digitizing oral histories that were recorded on cassette tapes, before those tapes degrade. Both MiPoPs (Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound) and UW Libraries have programs that can assist in that regard.


AKCHO seeks new board members
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The AKCHO Board has open positions to fill. The Board meets monthly on the first Monday of the month from 9:30 – 11 AM on the Bellevue College campus. The main focus areas of the Board are professional development, centralized resources, and advocacy. The Board also produces two annual events: the Annual Membership Meeting and the AKCHO Awards evening. We welcome potential candidates with a variety of skill sets from all around King County. A particular need is for individuals who have experience in accounting and performing audits. For more information, please contact Alice Stenstrom,


Exhibit Award – Service Ink: Veterans’ Tattoos and Their Stories
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Curator Hilary Pittenger accepts the Exhibit Award on behalf of the White River Valley Museum

Curator Hilary Pittenger accepts the Exhibit Award on behalf of the White River Valley Museum

The White River Valley Museum was awarded with AKCHO’s 2016 Exhibit Award for its extraordinary exhibit that focused on service-related tattoos. “Service Ink” honored area veterans by providing a setting for appreciation and discussion, and a format to celebrate the vigor and storytelling inherent in the art of tattooing.

 The Museum put out a call for submissions of tattoos and their stories from active or veteran members of the military, their friends and families. This resulted in 40 entries, which were developed into striking portraits of 40 individuals and their tattoos with short essays about the meaning of the tattoos. These panels created a beautiful and thought-provoking display. 

Some of the tattoos honored a loved one killed in service. Some were a diary of lives spent in service. Some documented issues of violence in the service or sexual harassment. All told powerful stories, especially considering the life-long commitment that wearing a tattoo implies. All of the people participating in the exhibit lived in Washington state, and many of them were from South King County. 

According to Patricia Cosgrove, the Executive Director of the White River Valley Museum, “The whole idea was to give people a voice about their military experience, and give the rest of us a look into their lives, which are so different – and to use the art of tattoo as a device for that storytelling.”  

A well-attended Open House was held to view the exhibit before the 50th Anniversary of the Auburn Veterans Day Parade on November 7, 2015. White River Valley Museum produces several temporary exhibits each year – all are unique, some look outside the history box, and all speak to different members of the Museum’s diverse South King County population.  

This exhibit was organized with the assistance of the Green River Community College Office of Veterans Affairs, the Auburn VFW Post 1471, the American Legion, and the City of Auburn’s Veterans and Human Services Division.



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!


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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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