Issaquah History Museums
The Issaquah History Museums (IHM) is a nonprofit organization that operates the Issaquah Depot Museum and the Gilman Town Hall Museum located in Issaquah, Washington. The group's mission is "to discover, preserve and share the history of Issaquah and its environs."
The Issaquah History Museums was founded in May 1972 as the Issaquah Historical Society. In December of that year, the Society leased Gilman Town Hall from the City of Issaquah for the purpose of creating a community museum. In 1983, the City of Issaquah leased the Depot to the organization, which was dedicated in 1994 after its restoration. Issaquah History Museums also owns and operates the Issaquah Valley Trolley.
Gilman Town Hall Museum
Gilman Town Hall was built in 1886 as the town hall for the community that late came to be known as Issaquah. It was used from the late 1890s until 1930 as a civic building; it then went into private ownership and was remodeled as a residence until its lease by the Historical Society. The property also contains a two-celled concrete jail that was used from 1914 until 1930. The permanent exhibit in this museum, "In This Valley: The Story of Our Town," uses photographs, artifacts, and interactive elements to explore different stories of Issaquah's past. This museum also contains a hands-on kitchen exhibit with many hands-on cooking implements.
The Gilman Town Hall Museum also houses the David J. Horrocks Research Center where the public computer access to the photo and collections database, research files, and other reference materials.
Issaquah Depot Museum
The arrival of the railroad in the area by 1888 contributed greatly to the development of the town, especially as shipments of coal to the Seattle area grew. The Issaquah Depot Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, houses exhibits in the restored Depot building and includes several vintage railroad cars as outdoor exhibits. The indoor exhibits include photographs, art work, railroad memorabilia, and artifacts relating to the Depot.
Issaquah History Museums is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. IHM is primarily staffed by volunteers, with a few employees to manage the museums, and a board with eleven members. The organization itself currently has over 400 members.
Issaquah History Museums also puts on events and history programs throughout the year, including local hikes and walking tours of historic Issaquah. In addition, the museums have history kits with varying topics for teachers to use in their classrooms. These bring artifacts and other interactive materials to students, while complying with state educational standards. Additionally, a Family Activity Guide that promotes family interaction through education is available for the Depot Museum.