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Cleaning out the closet

Emily Westcott was riding in the 2008 Irrigation Festival Parade in a 1907 Reo, reportedly the oldest car in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, when several people stopped her and inquired about the vehicle.

"People kept asking, 'Where'd you get the car?'" said Westcott, a member of the Sequim Museum & Arts Center board of trustees. "I said, 'The car's been at the museum for a long time!'"

The realization that many Sequim residents didn't know about the wealth of historical items at the museum gave Westcott an idea - why not have a celebration and display all the unseen items? The result: Museum Field Day, for which Westcott and MAC executive director Katherine Vollenweider cleaned out the center's massive 6,000-square-foot storage space.

"We want to show people how much we have here that we just can't display," Vollenweider explained. "Like any typical museum, we have less than 1 percent of our total items on display at a time."

From textiles to the Reo, from old-fashioned business machines to a horse-drawn carriage, Vollenweider said hundreds of items will be set up in eight tents from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Aug. 23, with volunteers ready to answer questions.

Although the majority of items will be on display outdoors, Westcott and Vollenweider also hope to be able to give people a tour through the storage area at the museum's Dewitt Building on Sequim Avenue.

In addition, they plan to have a section of items that remain unidentified by museum employees.

"I'm sure someone will know right away what this is," Westcott said, gesturing toward a large piece of farm equipment. "We'd love for people to tell us."

As the field day approaches, museum interns Kira Hendricksen and Mickey Yeager are scouring the database to gather as much information as they can about each piece that will be displayed.

According to Westcott, the event will be run by museum volunteers and she encourages any interested members of the public to volunteer, as well.

Westcott and Vollenweider, who hope to make the event annual, said the day is to be more of a celebration than a display - a celebration of Sequim's history and a celebration of the residents.

To give the event more of a celebration feel, Vollenweider enlisted musicians, including members of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers, to play and food will be provided by A Catered Affair.

"What we've got at the Exhibition Building is just the tip of the iceberg," Vollenweider said. ""People don't know all the nice things we've got, that's why we're doing it."



Above right: "We have many textiles," said MAC executive director Katherine Vollenweider, including this closet of old uniforms that will be on display.

Photos by Avani Nadkarni



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