Culture Corner


Goings on this week in Tacoma:

Restoration of famed fishing vessel topic of presentation at Harbor History Museum

Project director Chris Chase to discuss the restoration of the Western Flyer

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, Chris Chase, project director of the Western Flyer Foundation, will be giving a presentation at the Harbor History Museum on the fishing vessel Western Flyer made famous by John Steinbeck’s “The Log from the Sea of Cortez.” In 1940, the purse seiner (a net fishing vessel) took “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” author John Steinbeck — along with best friend and marine biologist Ed Ricketts — to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez on a six-week journey that yielded a pioneering book about the fledgling scientific disciplines of ecology and marine conservation.

The Western Flyer was acquired by the foundation that bears its name in February, 2015, but “due to decades of neglect by previous owners, and two recent sinking episodes, significant rehabilitation and restoration is required to return the vessel to service,” explains Foundation representatives. Following a rigorous selection process, the Port Townsend Shipwrights Cooperative was chosen to conduct repair and restoration activities on the Western Flyer in June 2015. Chase, formerly of the co-op, took on his new role as project director after the intrigue and future potential of the project brought him to the next chapter of his life.

Tickets are $5 for non-members and free for Harbor History Museum members and can be purchased on the Harbor History Museum’s buy tickets page ( or at the front desk. Questions and inquiries may be directed to Elizabeth Langford, education coordinator at Harbor History Museum, at

About Harbor History Museum: Harbor History Museum creates opportunities to experience the heritage of the greater Gig Harbor community by collecting, preserving and sharing the rich history of the area. Their vision is to be the cornerstone that provides a gathering place and a sense of identity for the community.

Founded in 1964, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society began operating a museum in 1976. The Harbor History Museum opened its new facility in 2010. The museum campus includes an 1893 fully restored one-room schoolhouse; a 65-foot fishing vessel currently under restoration; 7,000 square feet of exhibition space; and a 900-square foot library, research and meeting room. The museum provides a variety of public education programs, including the Pioneer School Experience, which serves more than 1,400 students every year. Led by a trained “school marm,” the children experience a pioneer school classroom complete with lessons, recitations, music, recess and lunch. The permanent exhibit space features professionally designed exhibitions, larger-than-life experiences and opportunities for hands-on exploration of our region’s rich history and unique heritage. Artifacts, video kiosks, hands-on exhibits, computer interactives and a small theater bring Peninsula history to life in the permanent galleries. In addition, the museum provides three to five special exhibits throughout the year so there is always something new to see and experience for members and visitors.

WINTER HOURS (Jan. – April): Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SUMMER HOURS (May – Dec.): Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. noon to 4 p.m.

ADMISSION: Complimentary admission for all general public visitors comes courtesy of the City of Gig Harbor.


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