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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Parks leader hopes to spark museum with pioneer relics stuffed in his garage

Aubrey L. White, Spokane’s well-known parks leader, had collected “various specimens and curios” and hoped it would become the nucleus of the museum. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Aubrey L. White, Spokane’s well-known parks leader, had collected “various specimens and curios” and hoped it would become the nucleus of the museum. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The seed of a Spokane civic museum was planted in a vacant storeroom at 827 W. Riverside.

Aubrey L. White, Spokane’s well-known parks leader, had collected “various specimens and curios which will form the nucleus of the museum.” They were being arranged and displayed by the city’s playground superintendent so that “people can see and enjoy them.”

What were these curios?

Apparently, there were pioneer relics, Indian relics, old guns, stuffed birds, stuffed animals, and rare books. White made it sound a bit slapdash.

“I have a garage full of them,” White said. “As they are, they doing no one any good, so I’ve decided to put them on exhibition, and I’m going to try to get other folks to do the same. Hundreds of Spokane folks have pioneer relics and natural history specimens stowed away in dingy garages and basements. We want to get these out, where people can see and enjoy them.”

This particular seed apparently did not take root. A year earlier, a small historical display had been started in City Hall, and that’s the one that would later evolve into the Eastern Washington Historical Society and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

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