Edmonds Historical Museum’s renovations looked back to 1910

EDMONDS — The Edmonds Historical Museum reopened Saturday morning after three months of renovations.

The result is not just a newly refurbished museum space, but in some ways a trip back to 1910, when the city’s Carnegie Library first opened in the building.

The museum staff found the original 1910 building layout and specifications and tried to reproduce that as much as possible, museum director Tarin Erickson said.

That includes the hardwood floor of the main story stained with a varnish that matches the original. Curved wall segments with burlap wainscoting follow the original specifications, and the original Tiffany glass “Public Library” sign hangs in the main room.

“We’re thrilled with the results,” Erickson said.

The renovations came at a cost of $45,000 to $50,000, most of which was raised last fall. The museum may seek grant money to cover the balance, she said.

The museum sought to restore as much of the original form of the building as possible.

Built in 1910 as one of 1,679 Carnegie Libraries nationwide, the building was almost immediately co-opted by the city government, which put city offices, the council chamber, the police department and jail on the lower level of the building.

Over the years, city offices spread to the main level, with added walls dividing up the spacious interior into smaller offices. In 1973, the newly-formed Edmonds South-Snohomish County Historical Society moved into the building, the same year the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The renovation restores the original floor plan to the main part of the museum, with the offices replaced by open exhibit space.

Downstairs, a lockable jail cell remains as testament to the building’s other early uses.

Some artifacts were moved off-site to make room for other items.

A schoolhouse exhibit of desks and materials was added last year. It sits in a new alcove where museum staff removed a false wall and discovered some of the original woodwork.

Another new addition is a large Victorian-style doll house that complements the other furnishings from that era.

Other standbys include an elaborate model train set — it isn’t a historically accurate representation of the town, but it’s popular with kids. There’s also a diorama of the town as it was in 1910, built in the 1970s by Edmonds High School students.

The new museum also restores some of the building’s original functionality as a library. Historical society books and photo albums that use to be tucked away into offices are now out and available for public use, Erickson said.

The reopening of the museum coincides with Saturday’s opening of the Garden Market next door, which the museum sponsors.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165 or cwinters@heraldnet.com.

Edmonds museum

The Edmonds historical museum, located at 118 Fifth Ave. N, is open year-round from 1-4 p.m., Wednesdays through Sunday. The Spring Garden Market operates every Saturday in May and June from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building (250 Fifth Ave. N.), and the expanded Summer Market will run Saturdays June through October along Fifth Avenue N. and Bell Street.

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