Help your local historical museum become a bigger part of the Enumclaw community | In Focus

Your past helps define your future.

A museum helps a community connect with its past. It provides a collective memory for its citizens. “You don’t know what to do until you know who you are.”

I wrote monthly local history columns for the Enumclaw Courier Herald and successfully applied for grants for several years for the Enumclaw Plateau Historical Society (EPHS). I had no desire to become someone who dealt with a lot of artifacts, photos, autobiographies – what the museum world calls “accessions”. I didn’t see that as my role.

I became concerned that the EPHS was struggling with shutdowns and limited hours because of COVID-19, so I, along with Art Storbo, began a search to find a new president, since our interim president, Ray Miller-Still, had too many responsibilities running the newspaper, getting married and more recently becoming a father.

Art Storbo and I wrote a column for the paper asking if anyone would be willing to take over the job of president. We got one response from Patty Shepard, a former president, who really preferred to deal with accessions rather than act as an administrator.

In August of 2021 I was elected president (or administrator) of the EPHS while Patty took charge of the museum accessions. A problem was solved!

I had been a social studies department chair at Sumner High School for about fifteen years of my 31 years teaching there. I had dealt with budgets and course offerings, but had no other management experience other than serving four years as a member of the Enumclaw City Council.

All of the EPHS Board are volunteers. Now that I am president, I ask myself where the EPHS needs to go to make the museum more useful to the community. As a history teacher, education and history are very important to me.

EPHS is developing an evolving vision about how we can better serve the community. The other side of the metaphorical river can be seen, but we don’t yet know how to cross it. Many of you in this community are better in areas where we lack experience and expertise.

I found Donna Hogerhuis, the founding president of EPHS, working as a museum curator for the Muckleshoot Tribe. I asked her for help. She was instrumental in purchasing the 1909 Masonic Lodge, and later Episcopal Church in the mid-1990s. The building now houses the EPHS Museum at 1837 Marion Street, across the street and down from Trinity Lutheran.

Since I watch the Enumclaw City Council meetings on the internet, I know that they are hoping to build a community center on Cole Street. The Chamber of Commerce, Arts Alive, and possibly the Senior Center will be part of this project. Arts Alive deals with culture, but part of culture is history. The Historical Society should be included.

I met with several members of the city council and the mayor to discuss how the EPHS could become part of the conversation about the proposed community center. They shared some thoughts and suggestions to help us in attaining our goals.

We have some remodeling work that needs to be done on the museum structure. The 1909 Masonic structure used to have four columns and a balcony. In the 1930s, the Episcopal Church converted the balcony into a series of enclosed rooms. There are some load-bearing issues that require us to reinforce the overhang so we can use those rooms to store our accessions. That will require funding and the need to write grants to cover the construction costs. We also want to clad the supporting posts with Doric columns to replicate the 1909 structure as closely as possible within the parameters of our designation as a King County historical landmark.

We’ve been talking with Ms. Hogerhuis and the Board about updating our displays through story, using interactive technology and becoming more child-friendly. We are exploring whether we can/should rent some of the museum space out to different community groups.

This will provide needed public meeting spaces and provide a greater source of income for our 501 (C-3).

We are open two days per week, Sundays and Thursdays, from 1-4. In addition to our artifacts, we offer genealogical research and thousands of photos of pioneer Enumclaw. If you would like to become a part of this transformative process and help us to find a way to attain our vision, please contact me at or phone the museum at 360 825-3356 (leave a message).

Become part of our vision.