CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY WITH EACH STORY.
We center our events, programming, collections and exhibits in the following core values:
- Accessibility – Offering free and welcoming activities for every individual.
- Discovery – Sparking curiosity and wonder through vibrant storytelling.
- Connection – Forging strong bonds between people, place and time.
- Diversity – Building inclusion through the many voices of Kitsap County.
- Education – Illuminating the past to enrich our future.
In 1947, Bremerton resident R.B. Campbell wrote to the local newspaper suggesting the need to begin recording the history of Kitsap. By 1948, a group had formed the Kitsap County Historical Society, with elementary school teacher Chloe Sutton serving as the first president and Elgie Hoffman as the museum director. The first display was mounted in 1949 in a small exhibit cabinet in the county courthouse, but we were eventually allocated two small rooms on the second floor of the County Administration Building in Port Orchard. In 1964, we acquired five display cases generously donated by Frederick and Nelson enabling us to set up temporary exhibits in bank buildings throughout Kitsap County.
By 1967, due to space constraints, the Historical Society was required to move out of the county courthouse. Luckily, a new home was found in the old Telephone Building on Fourth Street in Bremerton (currently housing the Coffee Oasis offices) and housed the museum from 1967 to 1976.
In less than a decade, the museum outgrew that space too. Fortunately, Rosamond Johnson, an active member, accomplished woodworker and poet, left a generous bequest that allowed us to purchase the Silverdale State Bank building on Byron Street in Old Town Silverdale in 1976.
It wasn’t long before we were packed floor to ceiling again, leading us to sell that building and purchase another former bank building in Bremerton – our current location at 280 4th St. in Downtown Bremerton. When we first acquired the Seattle First National Bank building 1995, it was an empty cavern, nothing resembling a museum. Thanks to the hands-on support of countless volunteers we were able to transform it into our new home.
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