AMBOY — Life has returned to the North Clark Historical Museum. After seven months of closures, the small church turned museum is open for business.
In addition to the displays on local logging and Native American history, this space has become an artifact of the history we’re all living through with the coronavirus pandemic. Green foot-shaped stickers adorn the floor, showing visitors the one-way paths along which to walk. Guests are greeted by baskets of masks and plenty of hand sanitizer. Plastic sheets cover artifacts that curious hands might have once touched.
Museum board member April Reichstein said she and her fellow volunteers were quick to make it possible to reopen.
“People are tired of sitting around and not doing anything,” Reichstein said.
Still, it’s not business as usual. Under Washington’s Safe Start guidelines, museums in counties in Phase 2 may reopen at 25 percent capacity or lower. That and other restrictions have meant canceling the usual fall and summer events at the museum.
The museum had to delay the 110th anniversary celebration of its building (though it hopes to celebrate “110 plus one” next fall, Reichstein said).
For now, Reichstein said, “We’re going to put our open sign out at noon and see if people show up.”
And show up people did. First in line to return was the museum’s stitchery circle, a group of women who gather once a month to cross-stitch, quilt, knit and crochet. The sounds of laughter and chatter rose from the basement into the otherwise quiet museum above.
Jo Ellen Angel huddled over her tatting supplies, a type of lace making. She’s been staying busy during the museum’s closure, crafting at home, but said “it’s not the same” as being with her group of gals.
Also among them was Barb Sizemore, finishing a quilt donated to the museum by a local family. Sizemore said the piece was started during the 1930s, when women would quilt using the fabric from grocery bags.
“We’re in touch with the generations before us,” she said. “It’s an honor to be here and work on this.”