The Highline Historical Society was founded in 1994 as the Burien Heritage Society. The founders of the Society soon merged with the Friends of the Highline School District and acquired their large collections relating to the history of the school district. Subsequent acquisitions of the archives of The Highline Times and thousands of articles of local community history have made founding a regional heritage museum imperative. The name was changed to “Highline Historical Society” to reflect the growing region the collections represent.
The Society owns more than 35,000 3-dimensional items, and 75,000+ photos, slides and films. Until the museum opens the collections are in storage in the former Seattle Christian School on Port of Seattle property in SeaTac. Highline is the largest area in the State of Washington without a local history museum. A great deal of board and volunteer time is being spent on the development and funding of the upcoming Highline Heritage Museum. People wishing access to the collections for research purposes before the museum is open can contact the Society to make an appointment by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about the new Highline Heritage Museum coming soon to Old Burien
We have begun the renovation of our building at 819 SW 152nd Street in Burien. Architect David Clark’s initial rendering of the building is shown above. The false brick facade on the east wall may be removed and the original siding restored. There will be a 5 foot overhang on the north and east walls so visitors can walk to the entrance under cover. Faces of our diverse Highline population will be shown on the exterior of the building. Many are our former Trustees, and others are representative of those that have moved here from other countries.
The timeline for the project calls for the demolition of the interior (now completed), with construction moving forward shortly thereafter. When the demolition of the interior was complete, the architect was able to see the “bones” of the building and work toward completion of the plans for the museum. The existing building was constructed over almost 90 years in 4 sections. Until all the walls and ceilings were removed he was unable to assess the condition of the remaining building. He is now completing the plans and they will be submitted for permitting. This may take as long as 6 weeks before construction can begin. We have a goal of being ready for exhibit installation in seven months after construction begins. With a lot of hard work, and a lot of help from all of you reading this, we are hoping to be open for business as a museum during the upcoming winter of 2016/17.
Wooden sewer pipes were an early way for people to dispose of wastewater and deliver fresh water to their homes. According to John Schladweiler at SewerHistory.org, some Londoners had wooden water pipes “as early as the 13th century.” While other materials eventually replaced wood in water pipes for most applications, there are still a few working wooden water pipes in existence today. Many parts of Highline were originally developed using wooden water pipes. Most have been replaced, however.
How can you help, you ask?
We have a continuing need for capital donors to assist with funding, and we can use everyone’s assistance with exhibit research and development. For example, if you have lived here for many years you might help with “proofing” our exhibits to make certain the detail in them is correct. Call Curator Nancy McKay to see if she has a project you can help with. She can be reached at 253-670-1398.
If you would like to learn about various funding and naming opportunities please contact Cyndi Upthegrove at 206-246-6354. We have opportunities at every funding level and need your help.
The Society has been able to begin the museum project thanks to two recent large grants. The first was a grant in the amount of $328,000 from the WA Capital Heritage Fund, a fund made available on a competitive basis by the legislature once every two years. This grant requires a 2:1 match from us and we are working to be able to capture it soon. The second was a grant in the amount of $1 million from 4Culture. The funding for their recent round of capital funding came from the final payoff of the bonds for the Kingdome. Remember the Kingdome? Back in 1987 the legislature determined that any surplus funding from the sale of Kingdome bonds would be restricted to Arts and Heritage projects in King County. Last Spring the final payments on the long gone Kingdome were finally paid and $28 million in surplus dollars were made available to cultural organizations throughout King County. In a very competitive environment and with quite restrictive requirements, we received a million dollars for the Highline Heritage Museum. These two grants have given us the base funding to begin the museum. We still need the assistance of the community to complete this project. Can you become a member? Can you donate a few dollars to the museum building fund? Can you volunteer a few hours to help make this something really special?