Building A Community Museum 

What do you do when you live in an area that has a major ocean, bay, estuary, river, lake or reservoir, and has a really a rich boating tradition but no maritime museum. You have decades of stories about how people have built boats, used them to fish, used them for fun. How do you build a maritime history museum from scratch to tell these stories?

Dick and Colleen Wagner didn’t mean to pioneer a new kind of community based museum when they opened “The Old Boat House” in the late 60’s. They were just trying to share their love of small wooden boats and the Northwest’s maritime history with their friends and neighbors. But almost immediately word began to spread about the little museum in Seattle where they let you play with the boats. People came from around the United States and around the world to see for themselves. Many were so impressed with the sense of fun and community developing on the water in Seattle that they asked Dick Wagner for details, advice, and a blueprint they could take home and start building their own “Center for Wooden Boats.”

With the financial support of 4Culture, the cultural services agency for King County, Washington, CWB wants to make Dick’s advice on Building a Community Museum available to any person or group that might be interested.   The following pages include more details about how CWB came to be, and downloadable documents, videos, radio show and more that can serve as guides to anyone.

Hear our founder Dick Wagner describe the process of building a community-based museum:

This page is currently under construction. More to come!