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Fox Island Museum, 2011

The Fox Island
Museum

1017 Ninth Avenue, Fox Island, WA
Visit the new Fox Island Museum Website

Have a question about Fox Island history?  Ask the Historian!

Hours of Operation

bulletAdmission $1.00 - Current Members free
bulletWednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
bulletGroup Tours: Marie Weis at 253-549-8140 for information

What to see at the Museum

bulletChanging displays
bulletDioramas of early life on Fox Island
bulletPacific Northwest Indian Artifacts
bulletLargest Collection of Pulley Blocks in Washington
bulletFarm Equipment
bulletTotem Pole
bulletAcheson Log Cabin
bulletLibrary & Archives

 

About The Fox Island Museum & Historical Society

Fox Island Museum
Fox Island Museum, 2004

The purpose of the Museum is to display artifacts used by people here on the Island to illustrate the changes in life styles through the years. There are more than 3000 artifacts on display in Dioramas, Showcases, and free standing exhibits.

Among them is a display describing the life of Dr. Dixy Lee Ray, former Washington State Governor, the largest collection of pulley blocks in the State, artifacts from the old Fox Island Ferry "City of Steilacoom", and several antique gasoline engines and farm equipment pieces in working order.

The Fox Island Historical Society held its first meeting on February 22, 1897, and as of 2014 has held a President's Day potluck every year since, for over 118 consecutive years.  The potluck is held at the Sylvan Chapel because of the historical significance of having been started there. For many years the museum's artifacts were held in private homes and the chapel.

The original Fox Island Museum started in the late 1800's at the Sylvan Chapel, on Echo Bay.

The Historical Society was reactivated in 1959 and opened the first Museum in the Nichols Community Center in 1959, using one of the school rooms for it's exhibit and holding space.


George Miller
1923 - 2002

This phase of the museum's history was organized and kept going by Cecil Fassett, who was the father of Lois Miller, wife of island historian George Miller.  Cecil died in 1977 and before he died, George promised him that he would carry on the work that Cecil began.  Cecil was instrumental in finding most of the Island related exhibits seen presently.

In 1979; George and Lois Miller bought the property on the corner of Ninth and Kamus for the proposed location of the Museum. The fire department at that time was looking to move their location to more central area on high ground.  They acquired the lot where the museum now stands; and with a swap of the Miller property for theirs, the current museum site was born.  It was moved from the garage next to the Nichols Center (the old Fire Station) to its present location.

The present Museum building opened in 1980.  The construction of the new Museum started with many donations from Fox Island residents.  Most of them solicited through the great arm twisting of George Miller and many other generous Islanders such as Lila Acheson Wallace of Readers Digest fame.

Subsequent expansion projects culminated in 2001 with the completion of the north wing, which was built from prefabricated wood and foam panels.  See photos of this project below.

 
Achison Cabin - 2011                                              Totem Pole and the Acheson Cabin

FICRA T-Shirts are available for sale at the Museum during normal operating hours.

2001 Museum Addition

The Fox Island Historical Society held it's official "Barn Raising" on Saturday, October 20, 2001.

Volunteers Jack MacDuff, Todd Drumm, Jeff Feagin,  Vern Schuelein, and Bob Johnson, lift the first wall section into place.

Vern Schuelein, Yukichi Uesato, and Jeff Feagin work on a wall section as John Ohlson looks on from the scaffolding.
The new addition is taking shape, after a hard day of work.  

The wall sections are made of foam sheets, sandwiched between OSB plywood.

Jeff Feagin, Todd Drumm and Hannah Jay inspect the progress

The Fox Island Historical Society would like to thank the following people who came to help "Raise The Barn" on Saturday, October 20, 2001:
George Miller, Dave McHugh, Jeff Feagin, Hank Henry, Tom Lockett, John Ohlson, Gary Gruman, Herm Botnen, Bob Johnson, Roger Parker, Jim Harms, Vern Schuelein, Jack MacDuff, Jeff Schuelein, Lois Miller, Lise' Ohlson, Nan Feagin, Hannah Jay, Jeff Stroud, Mountain Construction, Gary Crowell, Bob Beavin, Skip Post, Charles Ziegler.

Thanks to Todd Drumm and Larry Lippert from Premier Building Systems, Larry Booth and Yukichi Uesato.

The Fox Island Historical Society is building a new addition to the existing building.  An activity area for children is planned.  The present Museum building opened in 1980 after many years in one room of the old School Building (Nichols Community Center).  The amount needed for the project is $90,000.00.  The addition will be approximately 30' x 40'.  All of the work will be volunteer labor.  

Everyone who donates will receive a green and white bumper sticker that says: "We Helped Build The Fox Island Museum".  You can post this sticker proudly on your vehicle, your mailbox, your forehead, anywhere!  You may also contact the Museum by telephone 253-549-2239.  The Museum can use your help!

Famous Authors From Fox Island

Did you know that we have four famous authors from our beautiful Island?

Our museum curator, the late George Miller, wrote a book entitled: "Fox Island, A History". This book was published in 1993 by the Fox Island Historical Society and is available for sale in the Fox Island Museum.

Alexis Macdonald wrote a book entitled: "Fox Island - It's History and Development", which was published on July 20, 1966 by J & J Press, Fox Island. This book can be found in the Pierce County Library. As a child, Alexis attended the Island School (now the Nichols Community Center). She is now a teacher in Tacoma.

Caroline Perisho wrote a book entitled: "Fox Island - Pioneer Life on Southern Puget Sound", published in 1990 by Echo Bay Press. This book is also available from the Pierce County Library.

Don Edgers wrote two books about growing up in the 40's and 50's on Fox Island: |
"An Island In Time: Growing up in the 1940s", and An Island In Time: Coming of Age in the 1950s

All four books make for fascinating reading if you are interested in the colorful history of Fox Island.

Contact Information

Fox Island Historical Society
PO Box 242; Fox Island, WA 98333
Tel: 253-549-2461

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