$1.5M boost for Gig Harbor's history museum re-opening

The Harbor History Museum announced today that it has received a $1.5 million naming gift from the Sehmel family, which has enabled the museum to set a date for its grand opening of Sept. 18. When it re-opens in September, the museum will be formally known as the Sehmel Family Harbor History Museum. The announcement was made by Jennifer Kilmer, the museum’s Executive Director.

The museum has been closed since 2008 while a new 15,000 square foot facility has been under construction on the waterfront in downtown Gig Harbor.

The museum now has less than $500,000 to raise in order to meet its fundraising goal and open debt-free. Fundraising for this remaining amount will take place over the next four months, along with a Charter Membership campaign for the new museum.

Admission to the museum will be free at the Grand Opening, and visitors will have access for the first time to the museum’s new permanent exhibit exploring the history of the Peninsula: Connected by Water; the Jim and Carolyn Milgard Maritime Gallery which holds the 65-foot fishing vessel Shenandoah and the historic Thunderbird Hull #1; and the fully restored Midway School.

The Harbor History Museum (formerly Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society) was founded in 1963, and opened as a museum in 1973. The mission of the museum is to create opportunities to experience the heritage of the greater Gig Harbor communities — accomplished by collecting, preserving, and sharing this area’s history. The museum provides a variety of public programs, exhibits, and educational outreach programs.