Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shoreline Historical Museum is in trouble: being evicted by Shoreline Schools

(photo is part of a display at the Museum)

The Shoreline Historical Museum is in trouble. It looks like Shoreline Schools is evicting the Museum from the old Ronald School. Here is some information about the Museum followed by links to more information about the impending closure.

Important Dates in the history of the Shoreline Historical Museum

1976 - the Shoreline School District Board of Directors affirmed that not all learning happens in a classroom and as a bicentennial project, they and community members and leaders established the Shoreline Historical Museum.

1989 - the importance of the Museum to the community was reaffirmed by the School District Board when they deeded the building to the Shoreline Historical Museum organization for use by the community.

2000 - the Museum completes its accessibility project, installing an elevator to make sure all students and citizens can use the Museum.

2008 - After 20 years of planning and restoration work, the Museum’s Ronald School building becomes a Landmark.

Educational Activities

Led by trained docents on curriculum-based tours, over 25,000 Shoreline elementary children have visited the Museum, learning valuable lessons in community responsibility and pride.

The Museum has assisted teachers in providing real-life experiences that enhance and support the curriculum. With the help of Shoreline district teachers and grants, the Museum’s tours have been revamped numerous times over the years to meet teachers’ changing goals for their classes.

The Museum’s Passport Program aids school children and other young visitors in exploring the exhibits, learning about community history and the historic Ronald School. Each child’s completed passport is theirs to keep.

A specially devised tour program has served over 100 special education students who visit the Museum. This program also serves adults who have graduated from Shoreline Schools who participate in other community programs designed to assist them.

The Museum’s education programming has served over 300 individual high school students who have availed themselves of the Museum’s Community Service/Student Museum Assistant Program. This supervised program invites Students from both Shorewood and Shorecrest high schools to earn community service credits by volunteering at the Museum.

Students have contributed over 25,000 volunteer hours to the community through the Museum’s program, and at the same time have found within themselves the spirit of participation and giving back within their own community.

The Museum also takes under its wing high school students who have been ordered by the court system to perform community service. We are one of the few institutions willing to give children in trouble a chance to regain their footing and their personal pride.

Assistance is available for students doing social studies projects, such as History Day projects and theme papers. There’s something for every student at the Museum.

Hands-on activities for young people, run by high school volunteers, teaches children about self sufficiency and community history.

Three floors of exhibits focused on community history

A large public research archive utilized by students and other researchers

10,000 visitors every year

Over 1,000 regular members and donors


Members, donors and public funds from the State of Washington and King county have helped the Museum with $1.5 million dollars worth of capital projects in the last 16 years, including an elevator that enables special education students and other disabled citizens to participate in Museum tours and educational programs.

Over $2 million more dollars of community donations and grants have paid for educational programming, exhibits and operations.

A contract for services from the city of Shoreline for full time Museum services.

Sustained support and Special Projects from 4Culture, King County’s heritage grants arm.

Adult volunteers contribute over 5,000 hours per year to Museum operations, exhibits and programs.

The Ronald School building is an integral part of the Museum organization and the Museum’s programming. With our nearly 100 year old building, we are able to demonstrate to both students and adults that history is real - not just an abstract concept. With our building, we are able to illuminate the history of a community that has a school district that has long cared about giving all of its people a sense of belonging and rootedness in the traditions of education, sharing those ideals in a very real way with everyone through its gift to the community, the Museum, which provides lifelong learning for everyone. The Shoreline Historical Museum is more than a collection of artifacts.

(The Shoreline Historical Museum Board of Trustees)

Read the Letter to Members, Donors and Friends

Read the Petition to the Shoreline School District Board of Directors

Read all posts about Shoreline Historical Museum

Link to Shoreline Historical Museum

Please post your thoughts to the "comment" section!


  1. Dear Ronald Bog Blog,

    Thanks very much for publicizing this issue. I urge all citizens and history enthusiasts to jump into action to Save the Museum!
    Send letters to Shoreline School Board. Send letters to Shoreline Enterprise and Seattle Times.

    This place matters to Shoreline and the North Seattle area!

    J Way

  2. In talking to dozens of parents of Shoreline elementary school children, only one could actually name where the museum was. Not one had ever visited it.

    Meanwhile, every single parent knew where Shorewood was and at almost all had attended at least one event there (sporting, drama, or community).

    I don't think the museum has done a good job reaching out to the community. As a future Shorewood parent, I don't care about the museum at all. I do care that my child goes to school in an up-to-date facility.

    If the museum intends to survive, they better start thinking about what they are asking the thousands of families of future Shorewood students to give up and keep in mind that almost NONE of those families have ever been to the museum. Because right now I see the museum as an impediment to my child's education, not an asset.

  3. Shoreline ParentJune 1, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    I understand the attachment to the Ronald School, but it was a school. What better way to honor the school's roots than make it part of a school again? When my kids were younger, I had no desire to take my kids to the Shoreline Historical Museum even though I dragged them to almost every other museum in the area. It doesn't look inviting, and it is not in an appealing location (gas station, high school, Sugar's, car dealership high school smokers...). And, despite the discussion about having schoolkids go there, none of my three have taken field trips there.

    The School Board is not destroying the museum. The Board is not saying that history is not important.

    What about moving the museum to someplace like where the Wild Horse was in Richmond Beach? That is a family-friendly location, and an updated facility would attract more people. Have you seen how much people care for the library near there? The museum could even revive the Wild Horse summertime ice cream window--history isn't just long past. I have no idea if that building is possible, but the museum should consider a move instead of digging its heels in. Transition is always scary, but almost never as bad as we think it might be. A transition could be a reviving force for the museum.

  4. Concerning the posts by parents of school children:

    One parent seems to overlook the fact that museum supporters are not objecting to building an up-to-date facility for the students.

    The School District intends that for the Ronald School to remain as it is (so the other parents' assertion that it "looks uninviting" is irrelevant). In both cases, they - and, allegedly, parents they know - have not been inside the museum, so it is hard to give much weight to their comments regarding the eviction of the museum. They are urged to tour it before coming to a conclusion.

  5. First, I'd like to state the obvious--aren't we currently in a recession? It seems poor timing to be asking for so much money for a school when in fact there are other things we need to fund at the moment. The school will be fine as it is for a few more years. The taxpayers are already paying incredibly high rates!!

    Second, Shoreline will experience a great loss should anything happen to the historical museum. There are so few landmarks and/or places to go in the Shoreline area which have any link to the past. We need the museum as it is and where it is for future generations.

  6. WE raised our children in Shoreline and supported every school levy. We also are among
    the founders of the Historical Museum.
    The Museum deserves to stay right where it is and to be open to all. Sometimes people do not appreciate something that is right in their own "back yard"....Shoreline will cease to become a firstclass town without the Shoreline Historical Museum. Visit the Museum sometime (those of you who say you have never been) and read the acoounts of the pioneers who built schools and parks and businesses that make Shoreline what it is today!

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