Museum News

New things are happening every day at the museum. Here you can find news related to events, projects and newly discovered information.

Memorials in Anacortes

Memorials In Anacortes

On Memorial Day 2020, a visit to significant sites may not be possible or recommended for all. To enable virtual visits, the Anacortes Museum has created new webpages to present the history and list the people memorialized on well-known community monuments, like those at Altair-Americus, Causland and Seafarers’ memorial parks. The project is part of the museum’s mission to interpret and help maintain these important sites, and the people honored at them.

The creation of Memorials in Anacortes pages on the website was a response to the recent temporary removal of the "Lest We Forget" war memorial wall at Causland Park. Structural instability required that the bronze plaques be removed while the wall, built in 1988, was dismantled. The plaques are being safely stored at the museum while a new wall for them is being planned -- made of stone to match the Causland landscape. People can find the names online in the interim, and learn more about these men, with information supplied from the museum’s research files. The Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department will be coordinating the wall replacement project, and looking to rededicate on the centennial of Causland Park’s original dedication, which will be September 25, 2021. 

Our new webpages will also provide a way for visitors from near or far to identify and locate the names of family or friends listed on these monuments. Eventually, with help from the community, museum staff intends to include short biographical descriptions and photographs to accompany the names.

The Memorials Represented Include:

Altair – Americus Memorial Park is dedicated to the crews of the fishing vessels Altair and Americus, lost at sea on February 14, 1983. The park is located on R Avenue near Ninth Street on the Anacortes waterfront. The memorial was dedicated on September 15, 1991.

Causland Memorial Park is located on a full block in downtown Anacortes. It’s unique stone masonry, designed by Jean Baptiste Lepage, were a part of its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The park was constructed as a tribute to Harry Leon Causland and the 13 other local men who lost their lives during WWI. The park was constructed between 1919 and 1921, and dedicated on September 25, 1921. 

The Seafarers’ Memorial monument, placed in 1976 near the net sheds of Cap Sante Marina, was moved in 1999 to its current location in the park that bears its name. The plaque on the monument simply states its purpose: “The citizens of Anacortes erected this memorial in honor of those from this community who died at sea while in pursuit of their livelihood.” The memorial was originally dedicated on August 28, 1976 and rededicated on Memorial Day, May 31, 1999.

The Memorials in Anacortes webpages offer location, history and background on the people memorialized on these monuments. If you have more information to offer, please contact the Anacortes Museum at (360)-293-1915 or

Watch Our New Documentary About Local Legend Bill Mitchell

Despite an auto-accident in his youth that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Bill Mitchell  made it his life’s work to fill Anacortes, Washington with life-size murals of famous figures within the town. A true testament to perseverance, he refused to let his injury get in the way of his goals. 

Filmmaker Corin Noronha spent time with Bill in late 2018 and early 2019; together they formed what is an intimate and joyful look at the artists’ legacy during the last stretch of his life. For the first time, get an inside look at the mural project through Bill’s own words. Learn about his inspirations, his struggles and his incredible 150+ mural project that has left an undying mark on our town. We hope you enjoy, "Bill Mitchell & the Anacortes Mural Project."

After watching, please check out our pages dedicated to Bill and the future of the mural project - now under Museum supervision!  

Celebrate Bill Mitchell Day Remotely on May 3, 2020

Bill Mitchell event poster May 3 2020

May 3rd is the premiere of the Bill Mitchell documentary film made by Corin Noronha

Please join fans of Bill Mitchell and his murals on Sunday, May 3, 2020 – virtually – for Bill Mitchell Day. Watch the new Bill Mitchell documentary film, made by Corin Noronha, premiering on the Anacortes Museum YouTube channel. Find out more about the history and the future of the Anacortes Mural Project at

Bill Mitchell was Anacortes’ public artist and public historian. His leadership of the Anacortes Mural Project has created a lasting and authentic impact on our community’s residents and visitors. He installed the first mural on May 3, 1984, and eventually created over 150 painted plywood likenesses of Anacortes personalities.

When Bill died last spring, it caused many to realize that a plan for the future of his historic murals is necessary. Mr. Mitchell had identified the Anacortes Museum as the logical long-term steward of his mural work, which involves art, history, education, tourism promotion and community engagement. Bill’s family has generously offered to donate the murals to the city.

The Anacortes Museum and the Anacortes Museum Foundation are well prepared to manage this project collaboratively. Previous donors have already established the start of a mural maintenance fund; the Anacortes Museum Foundation has the capacity to accept website donations and otherwise support Anacortes Mural Project fundraising.

In addition to the documentary film, museum staff are also creating a full inventory of the murals, and coordinating a virtual smartphone tour of the murals – augmented by podcasts.