Museum Board Chooses Interim Director

Jim RusselThe Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has hired James (Jim) S. Russell to serve as its Interim Director for up to two-to-six months to replace outgoing Executive Director Brenda Abney. Abney’s last day as Director will be Monday, December 8. She is leaving to take a similar position in Tempe, Arizona.

Jim Russell is a local retired community college dean, businessman and community member, who has served on several local non-profit boards of directors including the Greater Wenatchee Habitat for Humanity, Chelan Douglas Land Trust, Numerica Performing Arts Center, and Wenatchee Downtown Rotary.

Board Member and spokesman Gil Sparks, who co-chaired the Search Committee for the Interim Director said board members personally solicited indications of interest for the interim director from among a wide variety of community members. “Russell was one of a dozen people who were willing to assist,” Sparks said.

Russell’s wife, Karen M. Russell, is the current President of the Board and Co-Chair of the Search Committee. She did not participate in Jim’s interview or ultimate selection. Contacts with the candidates and the interviews were conducted by Lynn Bourton, an external human resources consultant and Administrative Services Manager for Link Transit.

Committee members interviewed a number of potential candidates. The committee discussed the potential conflict of interest, but unanimously recommended Russell to the Board, which offered him the full-time position on Monday, December 1. He accepted and began work on Tuesday, December 2.

“We were happy to choose Russell because of his strong financial background, community service, longtime membership as a major donor, non-profit board experience and because he’s not interested in the permanent position and was able to begin immediately,” Sparks said.

When contacted, Mayor Frank Kuntz said, “I am pleased the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center has selected Jim and look forward to working with him and the Board.”

The Museum has a number of urgent projects that need to be completed, including finalizing discussions with the City regarding ongoing funding commitment in return for transitioning the director’s position to the Museum’s non-profit association and the Association undertaking the full gamut of the Museum’s administrative services.

The Museum is also presently discussing with the City of East Wenatchee developing a long term regional partnership and additional financial support.

In addition to hiring a new director, the Museum will be moving forward to replace the curator, Mark Behler, who is retiring December 31.

“Meanwhile we will be continuing to serve the thousands of visitors who attend Museum events annually, organized by our excellent staff and volunteers who continually donate their time and talent on behalf of the Museum,” Sparks said.

“We have been fortunate Brenda Abney’s leadership skills and creative energy have laid the foundation for a new era as the irreplaceable repository of artifacts for the history, science, arts and multicultural diversity of our region,” he said.

The Museum is holding a reception open to the public to honor Abney for her service on Monday, December 8 at 4:00 pm at the Museum.

It’s a Wells House Christmas

Christmas flyer 2014

Wenatchee’s historic Wells House announces two Christmas Open House events on Sunday, November 30th and on Saturday, December 6th both from 2-4.

Enjoy refreshments and view traditional Christmas décor in this historic and landmark home located at the end of Nelson off 9th St. bordering the college campus.

The House was built in 1909 by pioneer promoter W. T. Clark and became known as “Clark’s Cobblestone Castle.” Mrs. Clark designed the house, including the leaded, stained-glass apple windows and the thick walls of hand-hewn stone from the Columbia River.

In 1919 A.Z. Wells purchased the house and resided there with his wife, Imogene, until 1949, when they agreed to deed their estate for the Wenatchee Junior College campus. In 1973 the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, community volunteers have spent thousands of hours repairing and maintaining the building.

The Wells House is an affiliate organization of the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, which is dedicated to preserving the history and culture unique to the North Central Washington region.

Help Us Build a Pop-Up Museum Oct. 3!


We invite everyone to participate in a Wings and Wheels-themed “Pop-Up Museum” on Friday, October 3 at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

A pop-up museum is a temporary exhibit created by people who show up with objects to display and share – sort of like a community show and tell.

If you would like to participate, bring any object that fits the Wings and Wheels theme to the Museum Friday, October 3, between 5 pm and 8 pm.

There will be blank labels available for you to fill out with information about whatever it is you are sharing. You can write about how this possession came to be yours or how it is meaningful to you. Then you put your object and label on one of the display tables and stay to share stories and information with other participants and visitors for as long as you like. By 8:00 everyone packs their objects away and takes them home.

Image: That is an autographed toy plane signed by legendary aviators Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon after their historic non-stop trans-Pacific flight from Japan to Wenatchee in 1931. It was presented to Lewis M. Shreve and later donated to the museum and the people of the Wenatchee Valley by John L. Shreve.

WVM to Reopen Small Artworks Gallery

smallartAt the beginning of this year the Wenatchee Valley Museum opened a “Small Artworks” Gallery as a pilot project. It was an effort to benefit North Central Washington artists and local art collectors and to foster a greater appreciation for collecting and displaying art in our area.

The pilot program was a success and now the Museum is expanding the Small Artworks Gallery!  Two additional cases have been added in the museum’s entrance lobby to display work. A “Call for NCW Artists” is available to encourage participation and the gallery will open on November 7during the Wenatchee First Friday ArtWalk in time for holiday shopping.

The deadline for North Central Washington Artists to submit their work to be juried is October 4, 2014.

Here are the rules for the exhibit:

Artists must be 18 years or older and live in Chelan, Douglas, Grant or Okanogan County.

Artists may submit up to 10 pieces in any media. NO STUDENT WORK PLEASE.

All work must be No Larger than 16” in any direction, including any mats or frames.

All work must be priced under $100. All sales will be done through the Museum with a commission rate of only 30%.

All submissions are by digital image – up to 10 images may be submitted.

For more information contact:  Bill Rietveldt, WVMCC Curator of Exhibits, 888-6247,

Join Us For High Tea At Wells House


The Wells House Committee announces a “Spring Tea” on May 31st at 1:00 p.m. to be held at Wells House, 9th Street and Nelson, in Wenatchee.

This fundraising event will feature afternoon “high tea” treats with specialty teas presented by Cha at Pybus Public Market. A highlight of the event will be a display of a period wedding dresses from 1910 through 2000. Funds raised from the event will help refinished rooms for bridal party use.

Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the Wenatchee Museum & Cultural Center at 127 S. Mission in Wenatchee. Stop by or call 509-888-6240 for more information or to reserve a ticket. Seating is limited and advance reservations are required.

Explore Cultural Landmarks With Native Guide Randy Lewis May 18!

IMG_0324 Randy Lewis  3Explore culturally significant locations from the Peshastin Pinnacles to
the Wenatchee Heights with Native American guide Randy Lewis during a day-long bus tour Sunday, May 18. The bus will depart the Wenatchee Valley Museum for the six-hour tour with a stop for a no-host lunch along the way. Tickets are $45 per person.
This educationally intensive tour provides a perspective on a rich Native American Columbia Plateau heritage. Lewis, a gifted storyteller who traces his roots to the Wenatchi band, will share the stories of his people associated with local landmarks including Saddle Rock, Eagle or Lincoln Rock and the Owl Sisters. The tour coincides with the May 16 opening of the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center’s A River of Baskets exhibit featuring the work of Columbia River tribal basketmakers.
Lewis is enthusiastic about sharing the history of his people and the stories his ancestors wove from the surrounding landscape. He hopes deeper understanding will lead to a greater respect and awareness for ancient cultures.
“It was not uncommon to stumble across artifacts in the orchards when I was a kid,” Lewis said. “Columbia River lithography is just incredible and prolific. We were always uncovering points, arrowheads, beautiful jasper pieces. We learned from the elders to put them back where we found them, apologize for the disturbance and cover them back up.”
Besides the obvious landmarks associated with the Columbia Plateau, Lewis will talk about the many local ancient village sites and share what life was like for the people who lived in tule lodges along the banks of the Columbia River, catching and drying fish, hunting and gathering vegetables in the surrounding hills.
To purchase tickets for the tour, call the museum at 509-888-6240 or stop by the Museum at 127 South Mission in Wenatchee

Support Your Community, Support River Of Baskets


“River of Baskets” is set to open in Wenatchee May 16, 2014, and will travel over the next two years to other cultural centers and museums along the Columbia River.

But we need your help. 

Our fundraising goal for this campaign is $9,500 and is the final push toward the total budget needed to create this special exhibition and series of programs. We have only raised $950 so far, which is far short of our goal.

Specific needs for the funding are to provide:

  • Educational programming for school groups and community members that includes demonstrations and hands-on learning from our Native participants.
  • Safe transportation and installation of baskets from individuals and organizations participating in the exhibition.
  • Creation of an accompanying video featuring participating artisans.
  • Hosting Native artisans who are participating in the exhibition and accompanying video.

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, a non-profit organization with a successful 75 year history, will open a comprehensive and beautiful exhibit honoring thirteen contemporary Native basket makers of the Columbia River, and the work of their ancestors who created baskets.  These artisans are preserving the enduring traditions of their people, and are held in high regard in their own communities.  They represent tribes from the headwaters to the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.

We are seeking funding to ensure this exhibition is of the highest quality and pays proper respect to the Basketmakers, both contemporary and historical, who carry on this ancient craft.

Please donate what you can today via our indiegogo campaign here:

Watch our informational video on the project here: