A VIDEO about
First Night 2016

Saving Stories

A short film about the Jefferson County Historical Society

Jefferson Art & History Museum
Open weekends
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Open weekends only in January and February and MLK Day Jan. 16 and President's Day Feb. 20
Research Center
Open Tuesday - Saturday
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Rothschild House Museum
Closed for the season

Commanding Officer's Quarters Museum
Closed for restoration
Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitors Center
Open daily
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Paula BeckerFirst Friday Lecture:
The Truth and I

Humanities Washington speaker Paula Becker will present “The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of Memoir” at the First Friday Lecture on March 3.

Paula Becker is the award-winning author of Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I and co-author of The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy. She is featured in the documentary film When Seattle Invented the Future: The 1962 World’s Fair which aired on PBS stations nationwide. She has written for HistoryLink.org since 2001 and is a staff historian.

Becker said of Betty MacDonald, “Although she wrote autobiographically, Betty’s relationship with the truth was slippery. During a 1951 libel suit, Betty testified that she’d made up nearly all of The Egg and I—questionable testimony that worked in her favor. Betty’s readers seemed not to mind this discrepancy, but why?” According to Humanities Washington, “Becker’s talk ponders how Betty’s kind of nonfiction relates to the popular genre of memoir today. What—then and now—does ‘truth’ in memoir mean?” JCHS executive director Bill Tennent said, “At a time when the Oxford Dictionary has added ‘post-truth’ as an adjective, Paula’s talk seems particularly timely.”

The program takes place in Port Townsend’s historic city council chamber, 540 Water Street, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free, but donations which support historical society programs are always welcome.

Quilting MemoriesART WALK: Last Chance for Quilting Memories

If you have not yet seen the stunning quilts in the “Quilting Memories” exhibit at the Jefferson Museum of Art & History, March 4 will be the last chance to see them during a First Saturday Art Walk (although the exhibit will be on display in the museum through March 12). The museum will be open for Art Walk 5:30-8:00.  The exhibit features 24 historic quilts with details of their fabrication and interesting commentary on their use. Most are on loan from community members while a few are from the Jefferson County Historical Society collection. The oldest quilt dates to the American Civil War. All the quilts demonstrate exceptional artistic talent and creative expression.

Also during Art Walk, Jefferson County Historical Society archivist Marsha Moratti will be signing copies of the exhibit catalog.  The catalog commemorates all the quilters and the quilts featured in the exhibit.  It features color photos of the quilts, biographies of the women who created them, and a brief history of quilt making.  

Star-of-the-Sea-Rectory Hogg House Eisenbeis Building


The Jefferson County Historical Society seeks nominations for the annual Historic Preservation Awards. The awards honor individuals and organizations that restore historic structures or preserve traditions within Jefferson County. The deadline for submissions is February 29.

Since 1978 the historical society has presented two types of awards. The Mary P. Johnson Award goes to historic structure projects that meet the Secretary of Interior’s high standards for restoration. Certificates of Appreciation are given for a variety of preservation and restoration projects and are not limited to physical structures.

Any project may be worthy of an award and anyone may nominate a project for consideration. All nominations will be reviewed by the JCHS Historic Preservation Awards Committee. In the past, awards have gone to such major projects as restoring Port Townsend’s City Hall and the Jefferson County Courthouse clock tower, however, restoration of more modest buildings is equally important.

Non-structure awards have been presented to authors of local histories, museum exhibits, cemetery stewards, oral history projects, and individuals who have contributed to the preservation of Jefferson County's heritage.

Nomination forms can be found on line HERE or may be picked up at the JCHS headquarters in historic City Hall, 540 Water Street, Port Townsend.

Literary PressesThe Printed Word in Port Townsend:
Literary Presses of the 1970s and 80s

From the exhibit catalog:

In the 1970s and 80s a beautiful, forgotten, small town on the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend, Washington, was the sight of an unusual literary blossoming.  Writers, most of them young, had started migrating to the area in the aftermath of the sixties.  The Centrum Foundation’s Writers’ Conference was established and Copper Canyon Press found a home with them.  Other small presses started soon after.

In 1984, only New York City received more National Endowment of the Arts awards to literary presses than Port Townsend.  There was more than one publisher for every 850 people of the population.

The exhibit features seven of Port Townsend’s presses, the people behind them, and the magical time and place where they came into being.