Orcas Island Historical Museum
Our goal is to educate, inspire, entertain and involve our community and visitors in the stewardship of our unique island history.
We serve Orcas Island residents and visitors to the island by offering new exhibits, presentations and speakers, tours, research assistance, the annual Historical Day Fair, open house celebrations, regular visitation hours, opportunities for special appointments, newspaper articles and quarterly publications.
The Orcas Island Historical Society’s first museum consisted of artifacts displayed on the front porch of a pioneer family’s home. Property for a permanent museum site was eventually obtained in the village of Eastsound, a location the facility continues to occupy today.
In the 1950s and 1960s, various island families donated six original homestead cabins built during the 1870s and the 1890s to the Society. Volunteers disassembled the structures at their original sites, then moved, reconstructed and linked the structures together to create the main museum facility. These cabins are now over a hundred years old, and not only house the collections, but are considered important historical artifacts in themselves. Each cabin serves as a space for interpreting specific aspects of island history as told through the life stories and material culture of the First Peoples and early European-American settlers of this area.
The Orcas Island Historical Museum is unique in being the only object-based, interpretive heritage facility for the island, with a permanent collection comprised of approximately 6000 objects, paper documents and photographs.
Taking into account the fact that Orcas Island's museum is on an island that relies heavily on tourism, this facility deserves much praise. It is interesting, and anybody with an interest in Washington State/San Juan Islands history should enjoy their visit here.
Great museum to learn about local history. Well kept and interesting exhibits. Takes about 15-20 minutes to go through.
Great quick and Rich experience of pioneer life
Small fun little stop will in East Sound down town.
Thank you for keeping these artifacts around. The history in this museum is well-worth the $5 admission. This is a blast into the past 120 years of history as Westerners learned to live in the rugged Northwest, essentially building civilization in parallel with the world.