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Tag: Washington State History Museum


Jennifer Kilmer picked as director for Washington History Museum

Jennifer Kilmer

Gig Harbor’s Jennifer Kilmer will lead the Washington State History Museum into the next chapter in its history.

Kilmer will replace retiring State Historical Society director David Nicandri in October. She leaves an eight-year tenure as executive director of the Harbor History Museum, which recently opened in a new location in her hometown after a two-year absence.

She is married to Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer, lead writer of the Senate’s capital-construction budget.

Gov. Chris Gregoire made the appointment last week, approving a unanimous recommendation by the society’s board of trustees. The society runs the Tacoma museum and Olympia’s State Capital Museum.

On its blog, the society praised Jennifer Kilmer’s academic credentials and, maybe more important in this time of budget cuts, her fundraising ability.

The Historical Society’s museums were threatened with closure last year, along with the state museum in Spokane. But the Legislature ending up preserving them on a reduced schedule. The threatened cuts could be back next year, but Kilmer didn’t sound worried:

The Tacoma community came together and really rallied around the State History Museum, and I would expect that strong outpouring of support to continue.

On raising more private money: Read more »


Hearing pits cultural programs against each other

At a hearing today on a plan that aims to save the history museums in Tacoma, Spokane and Olympia by merging them with other cultural and arts programs, critics focused on the plan’s potential effect on the State Library.

The library would be consolidated into the new Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture under Rep. Jeannie Darneille’s bill. It would be funded in part by money that otherwise would be set aside for future construction of a new building to house the library and history-related programs.

Library supporters said it’s working well in its current home, Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office, and shouldn’t move to a new agency. Some also worried about snatching money from the planned building on the Capitol Campus, the Heritage Center.

The audience at the hearing was full of patrons of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, a part of the State Library that serves the blind.

Among the users of the downtown Seattle braille library’s 459,000-item collection is Greg Jack of Olympia, who has used it since he was a boy growing up in Spokane. Jack checks out several books a month, both audiobooks that he downloads and braille books that come by mail. Just now he’s reading Typee by Herman Melville. Read more »


History museum admission could be added to parks fee

If Washingtonians are going to pay more for nature, why not for culture?

Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, who introduced a bill today to charge an annual fee to visit state parks, wants to amend it later to add another perk to the parks passes: access to the state’s history museums.

Gov. Chris Gregoire wants to mothball the museums in Tacoma, Spokane and Olympia to save the state $5 million over two years. She also has proposed eliminating the state arts commission. Lawmakers are looking for alternatives.

“I’m definitely trying here to find a way to keep them

Read more »