On a fall trip to the town of Poulsbo, I stopped by the Poulsbo Maritime Museum. The museum opened a little over a year ago, and its exhibits focus on Poulsbo’s maritime history, fishing, boat building, the oyster industry, local characters, and of course, boats. They also have a maritime library that can be used on-site by anyone, and members are allowed to check out materials.
The museum is housed in the town’s first bank and includes a visitor information, a gift store with a sitting area and small museum with a hands-on children’s area, displays, and an outdoor vintage boat display. It is part of Poulsbo’s historic downtown, and a 3-minute walk from the Port of Poulsbo.
Poulsbo Maritime Museum Info
The museum is categorized in sections and moves from Poulsbo’s earliest days to the present day. There are models, text, photographs, memorabilia, fishing and industry gear, boat building tools, and maps. Some items of interest are:
- Pacific Coast Cod Fish Company, who were the largest employers in Poulsbo before WWII.
- Olympia oyster, which is the only Northwest native oyster and has suffered extreme habitation loss.
- Mosquito Fleet, including the Hyak, which I was told was “everyone’s favorite.”
- Information on local boat-builders Einar Nilsen, Martine and George Helmer, Chris Haugen and Ronald Young.
- Information on local rowing hero Norm Sonju.
- Fun facts about Chet Gausta, who still holds the Washington State record for the largest line-caught Chinook salmon which weighed in at 70.5 lbs. And, yes, the salmon is on display!
- Vintage boat collection and restoration.
Poulsbo Heritage Museum
If you want to extend your immersion into Poulsbo’s cultural heritage and early settlers stop by the Heritage Museum at City Hall on the second floor. The museum rotates their exhibits each year. Many parts of this museum guests are encouraged to interact with, like the piano and the music box.
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Poulsbo Maritime Museum Info
Give yourself a little over an hour to digest all information. The volunteer staff is happy to answer any questions, and it might be someone with strong ties to the community’s history. Plans are in the works to revamp the outdoor area of the museum which includes a pilot house and sitting area.
Address: 19010 Front St. NE Poulsbo, WA 98370
Distance: It is a 3 -minute walk from the Port of Poulsbo.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lara Dunning is a member of the Waggoner Cruising Guide team and has made one trip up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, AK. She is enthusiastic about small town living, and you can read more about her discoveries at Small Town Washington. She has been published in Bainbridge Island Magazine, Experience Anacortes, Northwest Travel & Life Magazine, WanderWithWonder.com, realfoodtraveler.com and Whidbey Life Magazine.