5 Things | Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center

Elementary students observe a demonstration of the museum's 1920s era apple sorter.

I grew up in Baltimore, where my grandfather instilled in me a love of local history by taking me down to the docks and telling me all about our city's past (including Mafia activity!). My career has been spent in museum administration in Texas, New Mexico and Washington, D.C. When I heard of an opening in spring 2015 at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center in beautiful Wenatchee, I eagerly applied for the director's job. Now my wife and I are happily discovering the many recreational, cultural and historical aspects to our new community -- and especially enjoying the people that makes this area so special.

 1. We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that relies on memberships, donations and grant funding. We receive annual support from the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, for which we are grateful.

2. Our mission is to connect you with our region's unique heritage through our creative programs, exhibits and publications. We tell the story of the people who built our communities: their hopes and dreams, failures and successes, and the forces that shaped them. And, of course, we want to foster an appreciation for the preservation and celebration of our collective community memory.

3. Children's programs are one of our most important offerings. Super Summer Adventures, Explorer Days, Youth on the Columbia, Christmas Family Fun Day, the Regional High School Art Show and Spring Break Adventure Camp are some of our annual kids' programs. Education coordinator Selina Danko is full of ideas and energy and relies on volunteers to help make these events happen. We also have a hands-on art area, "Coyote's Corner," for children to be creative.

4. It's smart to visit the Wenatchee Valley Museum often, because we're always bringing in new exhibits to augment our permanent displays. The standing displays include Great Northern Railroad, Ice Age and Clovis People, Clyde Pangborn's TransPacific Flight, Early Explorers and Apple Industry. We have a 1930s mural and 1919 Wurlitzer pipe organ. Exhibits coordinator Bill Rietveldt is tireless in refreshing our Main Gallery with a wide variety of unique displays.

5. Our two historic buildings (owned by the City of Wenatchee), connected by a sky bridge on the second floor, were built in 1915 and 1937; both served as post offices and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our collection includes more than 50,000 items, housed securely in the basements of both buildings.

We love volunteers! You can help with specific programs, greet visitors at the front desk, assist with collections cataloging, or commit to become a docent who can lead tours. There are lots of small jobs, too, like painting walls or putting address labels on our publication mailings. Contact volunteer coordinator Marriah Thornock at mthornock@wvmcc.org or by phone at 888-6249 to learn more.