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A hub for culture, history

What’s on tap for the Seaside Historical Society and Museum

City grant to develop strategic plan

By Damian Mulinix

For the Seaside Signal

Published on August 3, 2018 9:52AM

Last changed on August 3, 2018 12:03PM

The Seaside Historical Society and Museum bedecked on the Fourth of July. Their Fourth of July Ice Cream Social is an annual event.

Seaside Historical Society and Museum

The Seaside Historical Society and Museum bedecked on the Fourth of July. Their Fourth of July Ice Cream Social is an annual event.

Fourth of July visitors at Butterfield Cottage in period costume.

Seaside Historical Society and Museum

Fourth of July visitors at Butterfield Cottage in period costume.

Betsy Ross and Uncle Sam flank the Statue of Liberty at the Seaside Historical Society and Museum on the Fourth of July.

Seaside Historical Society and Museum

Betsy Ross and Uncle Sam flank the Statue of Liberty at the Seaside Historical Society and Museum on the Fourth of July.


With a beginning as a simple display of artifacts in storefronts nearly 45 years ago, the Seaside Historical Society and Museum is taking steps to assure that it continues to preserve those local treasures for years to come.

In his message printed in the June museum newsletter, board president Steve Wright noted that when looking back on 2017, it will be remembered as the year the society “began to take significant steps to move into the future.”

The historical received a $7,000 grant from the city of Seaside toward their goal of “becoming a hub for historical, cultural and heritage activities,” according to their grant request. In February, the board met with consultant Dave Bucy about planning and developing interpretive exhibits and begin drafting a strategic plan based on a visitor interpretive experience overview.

“We set aside our annual grant money from the city of Seaside to begin building a strategic plan. That process is now underway,” wrote Wright.

He noted that the next step will be to determine what needs to take place in order to make that happen.

“We are now utilizing a consultant that is helping us create a vision that we can follow,” said Wright. “I should also note, that we gladly welcome involvement from the community in this process.”

Wright acknowledged that with big changes coming, change is never easy. “We trust with the support of our members, volunteers and the local community that the end result will be worth the effort,” Wright said.


Rooted in history


For several years the historical society and museum has provided teaching materials to local fourth-grade classes regarding the native Clatsop-Nehalem people.

“This past spring we used grant funds from Clatsop County Cultural Trust to facilitate field trips to the museum so the kids could have a onsite, hands-on experience,” said Wright.

The historical society also sponsors the History and Hops lecture series at Seaside Brewing on the last Thursday of the month from September through May.

“I had attended one History Pub program at McMenamin’s Edgefield before moving to Seaside and loved the idea,” said Wright. “I found that Jimmy Griffin at Seaside Brewing had an interest in history, and as his business was located in one of Seaside’s historic buildings (the old City Hall), we quickly agreed to try our own history event.”

And while attendance was small the first year, it has grown in popularity over the last three.

“You need to get there very early to get a seat,” said Wright.

The society is also responsible for a holiday tradition in Seaside, the Gingerbread Tea, held in the 1893 Butterfield Cottage every Saturday from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

“(These kinds of events) bring much needed funding for our operations,” said Wright, but added, “but mainly they are part of the traditional activities that Seaside residents and visitors look forward to each year.”


2017 highlights


The society had a number of things to highlight from 2017, including the fact that more than 50 volunteers contributed more than 2,000 hours of time to the historical society. The museum saw a 28 percent increase in visitors from the year before — more than 2,200 total — and, after switching to admission by donation, they saw a 41 percent increase in admission revenue.

Last September, U.S. Bank awarded the historical society a $1,500 grant toward operating costs, as part of the bank’s initiative to support local nonprofits.

The roof of the Gaston Building was replaced to the tune of $15,000. In October, the Oregon Community Foundation gave the society a $2,000 grant, which went toward the cost of repairing the back porch of the Butterfield Cottage. The museum’s Butterfield Committee raised more than $6,000 for continued work on that building’s siding and windows, with the work currently ongoing.

“Having an old cottage and museum building means that we are continually applying for various grants and holding fundraisers to enable us to keep our facilities safe and in decent shape,” Wright said.

In the past four years the museum building has been painted, had the west siding replaced an had the hot water heater replaced. The Cottage was painted, the furnace and electrical panel was replaced, as was the west siding replaced and several windows were repaired.



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