Keeping Our Heritage Alive

We connect the future, through the present, with the past. Since 1948, the North Olympic History Center (formerly Clallam County Historical Society), has been dedicated to keeping the history of the North Olympic Peninsula alive. The Center operates three facilities: a research library, an active artifact collection pertaining to Clallam County, and the historic Lincoln School which is currently being restored.

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History Tales to feature Art as Artifact

PA Gun Club

Port Angeles Gun Club, painting by Thomas Guptil, 1938

It is only fitting that the North Olympic History Center/Clallam County Historical Society and the Olympic Peninsula Art Association partner to celebrate the visual art and artists of Clallam County in a special exhibit entitled “Art as Artifact.” They are joined by The Messy Palettes of Clallam Bay and the Far West Art League. The show takes place on Sunday, June 2, from 1-4 p.m. at the old Lincoln School site at the corner of 9th and C Streets, Port Angeles. Parking and entry are on the west side of the school off West 9th

Visual arts community members have supported the goals and enhanced the collection of the History Center for over 60 years. They have also contributed to many fundraising events.

The collection of artwork to be shown is owned by the History Center and has been donated by estates, artists and owners of artwork. This is an opportunity for the community to view most of the collection which includes artwork from the 1890s to present. All pieces presented in this show were created in Clallam County by residents at the time.

The opportunity to share this priceless collection comes because the community has supported the Center’s fundraising efforts over the years. Recently, state-of-the art storage units were installed in the Artifact Storage Facility. Items had to be removed from the original old storage and temporarily stored in Lincoln School. When volunteers saw the wonders of the collection, it was decided that the public should have the opportunity to see the collection as well. A highlight of this exhibit is the 13 ft. x 3 ft. painting of the Port Angeles Gun Club, done by Thomas Guptill in 1938. The club is still located east of Port Angeles. Then there is a collection of Esther Webster’s large, colourful, expressive pieces. Paintings by Minerva Troy and Gustav Kalling are some of the earliest pieces. Also featured is a collection of water colors by Joy McCarter done from the 1970s to the 1980s. There are over 300 pieces being shown in this collection representing over 60 artists.

Silk artist Karen Sistek has donated one of her florals for a raffle to benefit the History Center.

History Tales is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For further information, please call the History Center’s office at 360-452-2662 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For the month of June, the art show will be open by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Historical Society to Showcase Bridal Gowns

Eve Datisman, Irene Wyman and Kathy Estes get ready for the fashion sho
The Clallam County Historical Society/North Olympic History Center will present “Celebrating 120 Years of Bridal Parties” at its annual fashion show fundraiser on Saturday, May 18. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the fashion show starts promptly at 10:30 a.m. The event takes place at the Lincoln Center, 903 West 9th Street, Port Angeles.
The Historical Society has dozens of wedding gowns in its collection, the oldest from 1898 and the most recent from 2003. These gowns, as well as ten others spanning the decades from the 1890s through the 2000s, will be featured. Styles range from simple to extravagant, but all were worn with love by the brides. These gowns are fragile and will be exhibited only on dress forms.
The most historic gown is the wedding suit that belonged to Caroline Jones Rixon, pioneer at Fairholme at the west end of Lake Crescent, and the namesake of Mount Carrie in the Olympics. Caroline and Theodore Rixon, government timber cruiser, surveyor and long-time Clallam County engineer, were married in 1899; the suit was donated by their granddaughter.
Exhibits will showcase both what the bride and groom would wear the day of the wedding and gifts that might be in the bride’s hope chest.
Ticket prices are $20 for Historical Society members and $25 for non-members. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available through the Society’s office. Light refreshments will be provided by Chestnut Cottage. There will be a number of raffle baskets available, including a silk painting donated by Karen Sistek. 
For further information, please call the Society office at 360-452-2662 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Hands on History Students Awarded $2500 in Scholarships

2019 scholarship recipientsFrom left: Celbie Karjaleinen (with glasses), Peter Zalenka (red plaid shirt), Aiden Gale (gray plaid shirt)

Three students in the 2019 Hands on History program of the North Olympic History Center were awarded a total of $2500 for their research projects, written papers and displays. To win scholarships, students were evaluated on thier research, written papers, displays and presentations by a panel of judges.

In the Senior Division, Aiden Gail received $1500 scholarship for his project "When the War Put Clallam County to Work, Spruce Division and Railroad."

In the Junior Division, Peter Zalenka won a $500 scholarship for the project on "Skiing In Olympic National Park." Peter won a scholarship in last years' competition for his project on "Ferries of Lake Crescent."

Also in the Junior Division, Celbie Karjaleinen won a $500 scholarship for her project on "Minerva Troy, Artist."

Below are photos of award winners with their project displays.

Aiden Gale with display

Roger Oakes discusses The Spruce Division Railroad with Aiden Gail

                            Peter Zalenka with display

                                                    Peter Zalenka stands by his display about the history of skiing in Olympic National Park

                                                   Celbie Karjaleinen with group

                                                              Celbie Karjaleinen tells a group about the importance of Minerva Troy as an artist in our community


Your Historical Society Connects You

Your Historical Society connects you:

  • To the rich history of Clallam County with educational programs like History Tales and other events
  • Honors personal histories by collecting, preserving, and sharing
  • Makes history a family affair with the Hands on History Program for students in grades 6 - 12
  • Helps you find the answers to your questions with a staffed Research Library
  • Makes history accessible with programs featuring the collectoin's artifacts

Join us and get connected!