© 2019 Yakima Valley Museum & Historical Society Inc.

2105 Tieton Drive | Yakima | WA 98902

Phone: (509) 248-0747

Fax: (509) 453-4890

Email: info@yvmuseum.org

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The History of a Museum for the Yakima Valley

The Story behind this painting

Our history in pictures

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The Yakima Valley Museum has achieved prestigious peer recognition. It is one of only three museums in Eastern Washington to be fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and at 65,000 ft2, it is one of the largest cultural history museums in the State.

Community-based campaigns have raised virtually all the ongoing annual support since 1951, but also resulted in capital fund contributions totaling $13,937,162 (in 2012 dollars) for the construction of the current physical plant, a state-of-the-art museum facility with many special features and equipment unique to museums.  Now conservatively insured at a replacement cost of $25,000,000.

1917  

The first museum opened in a log cabin clubhouse at the State Fairgrounds, but a fire several years later destroyed this “place for historical relics.”

1934  

A. E. Larson dies and wills the City of Yakima his house Rosedell and $100,000 to found a community museum. The City Council rejects the bequest, and the Larson Family later uses the funds to build the Larson Museum & Gallery at the Yakima Valley Junior College.

1935  

The City of Yakima celebrates its Golden Anniversary, and within a year three groups announce plans to establish a museum, but none are implemented.

1951  

The local chapter of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington opens a museum room in the basement of the Yakima City Hall on February 20, 1951.

1957  

With the impetus of a grant from the Alexander Miller Trust, local residents donate $160,000 to build a 12,000 square foot brick structure on donated land adjacent to Yakima's new Franklin Park.

1975  

A group of Yakima businessmen donate the William L. Gannon collection of horse-drawn vehicles and Native American material, and the community donates $750,000 to add 29,000 square feet to the existing structure. 

1982  

The museum is given the Horace M. Gilbert House, an orchard house built in 1898 and located 3 blocks from the museum at 2109 West Yakima Avenue.

1989  

Following a third successful community campaign, which raised $1.6 million, the museum is expanded to 56,000 square feet.

1995  

The Children’s Underground, a hands-on interactive center, opens.

1996  

The Museum Soda Fountain opens.  The museum also receives its first-ever grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services, a federal agency which each year selects just 400 museums nationwide as grant recipients.

1999  

The Museum receives notification of a $400,000 matching grant from the State of Washington. The museum is ranked second among the 80 applicants in terms of need and value to community.

2000  

A New Museum for a New Century, a $3,958,000 fund development campaign is made public, and the community responds with gifts and pledges totaling over $4.5 million.

2002  

A completely renovated museum building, now 65,000 square feet in size, is completed, work begins on the installation of all new exhibitions, and the Board of Trustees establishes The Basalt Society, an endowment drive designed to ensure a rock-solid future for the museum.

2005   

The museum receives the prestigious honor of becoming a fully accredited museum with the American Alliance of Museums - one of only three in central Washington.

2012   

$1,500,000 was raised locally to meet a 3:1 match requirement on the offer of a prestigious $500,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. When all pledges are paid the Museum Endowment Principal will grow by $2,000,000.

2018   The Board of Trustees adopts a new strategic plan