While in Walla Walla, Washington we had heard that the Fort Walla Walla Museum was a must-see attraction. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees we started our day early, because many of the exhibits are outside. We used our AAA membership card to save $2 on our admission – costing $17 for all of us to get in (our littlest one was free, under 6 years old).
We were pleasantly surprised when we found the Walla Walla Chamber musicians playing in the lobby. I guess before big shows they “practice” in places around the community. What a treat it was to hear their amazing music while in the main museum building.
We skipped over the inside exhibits and went directly to the outdoor exhibits first to get those done before the weather heated up too much. The first thing you see when you walk out of the main building is an AWESOME fort playground. The kids just HAD to play on it.
The kids spent quite awhile running, sliding, climbing and exploring the play structure. When asked after we left what their favorite part of the museum was – they said the playground. Of course. Lest not forget they are 7 and 4 years old. 🙂
But they did enjoy the old exhibits – we saw lots of very neat things. . .
Like this Douglas Fir slice is from the Mt. Baker National Forest in the Cascade Mountains. Logged in 1970. According to the growth rings this tree germinated around the year 1200 – how amazing! This sits outside one of the many homes in Pioneer Village – early buildings from the City of Walla Walla. Peaking into each old building brings you back in time. . .
Like this barber shop! The barber chair inside is one of the oldest in the Northwest (not pictured, oops). Made about 1870 it was used in Clifford Lee’s Barber Shop on Alder Street. Baths for 25 cents were also featured in barber shops like this. Can you imagine heading to the barber shop to get a bath?
The kids had fun playing with the old features – like this water pump, right in front of the blacksmith shop.
One of my favorite building in the Pioneer Village was this old one-bedroom schoolhouse. Built in 1867 near Dixie, Washington it hosted grades 1st through 8th with a student body of about 15-18 kids.
My kids couldn’t believe that all grades would be in the same classroom. This is one of the best preserved one-room school houses in the Northwest – including the original blackboards. This generated great discussions with our kids about how blessed and lucky we are to have school and an education. My husband, a high-school teacher, is seen in the reflection of this photo – how things have changed for educators. . .
For example, this is a teacher’s contract from 1929, when teachers made $125/month!
Liam LOVED this “house” in Pioneer Village. It was an old “clubhouse” for a local boy. Snakes and bugs in jars, baseball bat, puzzles, books and old toys. No iPads or Nintendo 3DS systems – just good ole fashioned fun.
After Pioneer Village we walked to the other auxiliary buildings – each one with exhibits around a specific theme. The kids liked the old jail/penitentiary exhibit.
And this miniature replica of the Baker Railroad area in Walla Walla was interesting. The exhibits are surrounded with agriculture equipment used in the early years.
This particular agriculture exhibit was very impressive – showing the old equipment and just how many mules were needed to pull it. In the front of this hall is a short video to watch that shows the equipment in action.
And the main museum building has lots of other great exhibits – we especially liked the ones about the Lewis and Clark journey, but they also covered topics such as the World Wars, textiles, the Lloyd family and more. You can learn more about these exhibits here.
Before we left we picked up this Lewis and Clark card game in the museum gift shop. Produced by the History Channel, it cost about $12. It is a rummy-style game and you try to collect cards in a similar category (like landmarks, plants, indian tribes) or in order of when they were discovered by Lewis and Clark (like a run), as denoted by the number on the cards. I think we’ll play it often along the road. . .
We definitely would recommend the Fort Walla Walla Museum next time you’re in Walla Walla, Washington. I’d LOVE to hear about your favorite exhibits.