From the moment you walk between the welcoming House Posts, the path through the exhibit will engage your senses. Movement, textures, the forest environment and the symbolic movement of the tide will inspire your imagination. The objects owned by the Suquamish Museum, many never before exhibited, and those on loan from Suquamish families and other museums, will engage visitors to learn about the lives and culture of the Suquamish.
The Suquamish Museum Board of Directors and the Museum's curatorial staff collaborated with Storyline Studios (Seattle) to design Ancient Shores – Changing Tides. The exhibit presents the story of the Suquamish People in a traditional way. Seven symbolic design elements illustrate an integrated cultural view of the Suquamish tribe over time; past, present, and future. The exhibit installation by Pacific Studios (Seattle) inspires visitors to see, listen and learn in a different way. The goal is to displace the modern way of historical contextual understanding. Culture is more than historical events strung together. The passing of knowledge and values, generation to generation, is the core of Suquamish culture.
Helping to support a rich learning environment is the integration of Lushootseed in the new exhibit. Lushootseed, the language of the Suquamish and other Coast Salish tribes, is a critical element for visitors to be able to understand the culture. How people communicate with one another is a window into how they view themselves and their relationships, and how they understand the world and universe.
One singularly beautiful feature spanning the length of the exhibit hall is a uniquely cedar designed timeline. Beginning at the end of the last Ice Age and progressing through to current time, visitors accustomed to an event sequence style of display can ground their learning experience. Inclusion of the timeline gave us an opportunity to help visitors see a very familiar world in a completely different way. Today the United States boundary with Canada and the geographic boundaries of Washington State limit our view of the world. Three hundred years ago the “lines” on a map we now take for granted did not exist. The area we now describe as the Salish Sea reflects past boundaries and relationships among the many nations found along its shores. It is also an amazing opportunity to share the rich photographic collection the Suquamish Museum has assembled.
The video production of Come Forth Laughing has been re-mastered for the new exhibit. Integrated as part of the exhibit, the award winning original production has been updated by Suquamish Museum Archivist/Curator Lydia Sigo in partnership with Sadis Filmworks (Seattle) with more oral history voices and additional photographs. The audio and visual experience is the part of the exhibit that truly inspires.