History buff on your list? Local museums have many choices

Even with Christmas just days away, you may still be searching for that special holiday gift for the history lover on your list, and you may want to find something distinctly local. Harbor-area museums may have a solution.

The Aberdeen Museum offers Ted Reynvaan’s “The Boys of Company B” ($21.99), chronicling personal stories of Aberdeen’s Marine Corps company during the Korean War. You’ll also find Gene Woodwick’s “Ocean Shores” ($21.99), a photographic gem of the Point Brown Peninsula’s history.

The Museum of the North Beach’s ever-popular annual calendar ($13)is back with 13 new historical images and more than 80 notable dates. Their book offerings have really expanded this year with out-of-print titles like “They Tried to Cut it All” to new titles such as “James Swan, Cha-tic of the Northwest Coast” ($35) and “Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula” ($19.95, also available at the Polson Museum). Ecologically-interested folks won’t want to miss Donovan Hohn’s riveting “Moby-Duck” ($27), which delves into the extraordinary world of oceanic flotsam as studied through the 28,000 toy rubber duckies that went overboard in 1992 from a Chinese container ship en route to Seattle.

The Chehalis Valley Historical Museum is well stocked with Sue Schafer’s “Voices from the Past” ($19.95), a fascinating collection of John Dennis Schafer’s family letters written between 1842 and 1898. Schafer’s annotations, family tree, photos, and maps provide substantial context to the dozens of letters. Avid Harbor historians will no doubt appreciate exploring the family history of those who pre-dated the famed Schafer Bros. Logging Co. generation.

Everything at Raymond’s Northwest Carriage Museum is now 20 percent off and Western settler-era history fans would appreciate receiving any number of books now on sale. “The Prairie Traveler” ($9.95) is a re-print of the 1859 handbook by U.S. Army Captain Randolph Marcy who details the essentials of westward travel: preferred routes, broken wagon repair tips, river fording essentials, and quicksand avoidance. Additionally, children who adore dogs will enjoy Patricia Eubank’s “Seaman’s Journal” ($15.95) about the Newfoundland dog that accompanied Lewis & Clark on their famed Corps of Discovery Expedition.

In South Bend, the Pacific County Museum’s newest offering is Megan Chance’s “Bone River” ($14.95), an engaging historical novel that relates the discovery of a mummy on Shoalwater Bay in the mid-19th century. If logging history is of interest, the well-researched and superbly photographed “When Logging Was Logging: 100 Years of Big Timber in Southwest Washington” ($30) will not disappoint. And if you know anyone who has ever enjoyed small town high school sports, consider Jim Stinson’s “Remembering the B” ($39.95).

Everything at Hoquiam’s Polson Museum is now discounted 10 percenet to 50 percenet and our newest offering is Jacilee Wray’s “From the Hands of a Weaver: Olympic Peninsula Basketry Through Time” ($45). Wray’s compilation of well-written and researched chapters by experts on the art of basketry and the history of the Peninsula tribes is the finest book yet written on this subject. The Polson also has a fresh supply of James Spencer’s now-classic “Rayonier” ($42.95). While “Rayonier” will delight railroad buffs, “Kinsey Photographer: The Locomotive Portraits” ($22.95) will make them salivate – this coffee-table book is arguably the most gorgeously printed collection of Washington’s logging railroad engines ever published. Finally, the Polson carries John Hughes’ and Ryan Beckwith’s “On the Harbor” ($24.95) which is a must-have for any Harborite and can also be purchased at The Daily World’s main office.

The Westport Maritime Museum specializes in nautical-themed merchandise and offers some excellent choices of books, apparel, and artwork. Ruth McCausland’s “They Came by Sea: Historic Grays Harbor Watercraft” ($15.00) explores the wide assortment of vessels that have entered our harbor over the years. If you have a young woman on your list, consider Arielle North Olson’s “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter” ($15.95), a compelling read about a girl who heroically mans a lighthouse during a storm. For a young man, consider Richard Lee’s “Eagle Boy: A Pacific Northwest Tale” ($10.99), a retelling of the Native legend about an orphaned boy raised by eagles who together save the boy’s tribe. And for art lovers, one of Barbara Sampson’s watercolor reproduction prints of local maritime scenes ($30/$44) would surely be cherished.

If you have a Harborite on your list with an interest and pride in their area’s history, stop by one of our local museums. Chances are good that you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a selection of items that are all but impossible to find elsewhere. If material gifts aren’t what you are looking for, consider making a contribution in honor of someone special and know that gift museum memberships are always appreciated. Keep in mind as well that these non-profit museums use gift shop sales to support their programs of local historical preservation, exhibition, and education. From all of us, best wishes this holiday season.

Where and when to find our local museums open this week:

• Aberdeen Museum, 111 E. 3rd, Aberdeen. 10 – 5 Tues. to Sat., 12 – 4 Sun. 533-1976 / www.aberdeen-museum.org

• Chehalis Valley Museum, 703 W. Pioneer Ave., Montesano. 12 – 4 Sat. & Sun. 249-5800

• Museum of the North Beach, 4658 State Route 109, Moclips. 11 – 4 Sat. & Sun. (open Christmas Eve.) 276-4441 / www.moclips.org

• Northwest Carriage Museum, 314 Alder, Raymond. 11 – 4 Wed. to Sat. / 12 – 4 Sun. (open Christmas Eve.) 942-4150 / www.nwcarriagemuseum.org

• Pacific County Museum, 1008 W. Robert Bush Dr., South Bend. 11 – 4 every day 875-5224 / www.pacificcohistory.org

• Polson Museum, 1611 Riverside, Hoquiam. 11 – 4 Wed. to Sat. / 12 – 4 Sun. 533-5862 / www.polsonmuseum.org

• Westport Maritime Museum at 2201 Evergreen, Westport. 12 – 4 Fri. to Sun. 268-0078 / www.westportwa.com/museum

John Larson is the director of the Polson Museum in Hoquiam.