We Came with Dreams

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Jefferson County Museum

Jefferson County Historical Society • Port Townsend, WA • 4,000 sq. ft.

Jefferson County is situated at the Northwestern tip of the continental U.S., at the entrance to Puget Sound.  During the late 1800s, its bustling port of entry — Port Townsend — was regarded as the ultimate location for the termination of the northern line of the transcontinental railroad.  Real estate speculators rallied, business boomed, and a classic Victorian seaport was born, destined to become the “New York of the West.”  But financial market turmoil and an economic crash at the end of the century scuttled the dreams of Port Townsend and its neighboring lumber and shipbuilding towns, leading to a mass exodus — a classic boom-and-bust cycle of 19th-Century America.

Today, with much of the area’s heritage and architecture carefully preserved by an active historical society, the Jefferson County Museum is a gem of history housed in the recently restored Port Townsend City Hall.  The museum tasked Storyline Studio with planning and design of a revamped permanent exhibition to complement the building restoration, and with overseeing the fabrication and installation of a “preview” orientation gallery, including an introductory video produced by Sadis Filmworks.

The full exhibition will include an immersive multimedia presentation, neatly integrated into the windows of the original municipal courthouse.

In the old firehouse downstairs, the double-height ceiling allows for a suspended “antiques attic,” creating unique visible storage to show off the museum’s deep artifact collection.

Artifact cases in each gallery are designed to blend with the historic uses of the building, and to honor the important maritime history of this Victorian port city.

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