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The Anacortes Museum, Maritime Heritage Center and W.T. Preston exist to preserve and interpret the history of Fidalgo and Guemes Islands and to nurture in the community an awareness and appreciation of its heritage.
Bill Mitchell Mural Project Self-Guided, Smartphone Tour
The Anacortes Museum is excited to announce a new self-guided, smartphone tour of the Bill Mitchell Mural Project. Anyone with a smartphone is invited to log onto: billmitchellmuralproject.org and begin exploring the wonderful Anacortes history, created by the late Bill Mitchell - muralist, cartoonist, artist, local historian, pirate and overall scallywag – who was born on April 14, 1949 and lived most of his years in Anacortes.
“Our hope is that people will use the website to add depth and meaning to their experience of downtown,” says Adam Farnsworth, Education and Media Curator at the Anacortes Museum. Recordings of Mitchell telling about the murals is part of the tour, adding to the context and background. “People are able to stand in front of a mural and have a much more enriched experience.”
Tour development was supported by the Anacortes Museum Foundation and its generous donors, as well as funds provided through the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
Mitchell’s roots were deep, and his love of all things Anacortes fueled his passion to preserve and honor the rich history on Fidalgo Island. Always one to champion saving a cherished building and hoping to spruce up the community, Bill created the Anacortes Mural Project. The first mural was mounted May 3, 1984. The project generated a life of its own and currently there are over 160 murals on display and several that were still in the planning stages. Bill loved parades, mermaids, cars, pirates, World War II mementos, to name but a few. He would share his vision and enthusiasm with everyone who took the time to listen. His impact will remain within all of us.
Self-Guided Mural Tour How-To:
Individuals can get started on their own by launching billmitchellmuralproject.org on a smartphone and navigating to “The Mural” located under “The Murals” menu item. From there, they can tap the Google Maps center location icon: a small compass around a circle, under the “Map” button in the top, left corner of the map. This will use the phone’s GPS features to center the map on the user’s location. The pin icons indicate the locations of each mural, and by tapping a pin, one can see the mural at the specific spot. Further, by clicking through to the post for each individual mural, users can view additional information about the mural, its subject, related history, and more.
Welcome to Photographers of AnacortesThe Photographers of Anacortes exhibit at the Anacortes Museum is designed to be enjoyed by in-person visitors at the Carnegie Gallery (1305 8th Street). It is also available to remote visitors who want to learn about lives of the “shadow catchers” who worked on Fidalgo and Guemes islands during the first century of picture-taking here.
The new exhibit serves as an advertisement for the more than 70,000 historic images in the Anacortes Museum’s online database, opened to public access ten years ago and growing by the thousands every year. “If you haven’t visited Anacortes.pastperfectonline.com before or recently, there’s so much to discover. People are finding photos they’ve never seen before of family members, and pictures of historic events they’ve only heard about,” states Bret Lunsford, director of the Anacortes Museum.
The exhibit was designed by Corin Noronha and Will McCracken, both Anacortes High School alumni and photographers themselves. They worked throughout the pandemic creating the interpretive panels, promotional videos, photographer trading cards and the virtual exhibit connecting all of the interactive elements.
Like baseball cards, a series of Photographers of Anacortes trading cards have been produced as take-aways from the exhibit and to serve as educational tools in the classroom and for presentations. Ferd Brady, C.L. Judd and David Ewing are featured in the first batch, which include images of the photographers at work, a short biography and a QR code which – when scanned by your phone – leads you to a collection of their photographs online.
It is a hybrid exhibit created during the uncertain pandemic times to celebrate and promote the whole community’s photo collection. Family snapshots are included as well as studio portraits and commercial photography, all presented in the context of evolving technology and the exponential growth of recorded images.
The Anacortes Museum Collection includes family photo albums, glass negatives, early tintypes, color slides and more…the proverbial shoebox of archived images. Museum staff and volunteers safely store, research and catalog the many images and artifacts in the collection, which took root in work led by the late Wallie Funk. The Wallie Funk Collection is one of many past donated collections that are being scanned and posted online, with many “new” photographs made accessible for public viewing every year.
The Photographers of Anacortes exhibit is an invitation to explore an immense number of local images, and also to help us with the project of identifying people and places in those that are unidentified. This can be done using the online database’s “Send Feedback” function which sends your comments about a specific photo to the museum’s staff.
The exhibit is designed to expand and extend into the modern era, and museum curators invite the community to consider donating original prints and negatives (or scans) of their photographs for inclusion in the Anacortes Museum Collection. “It’s great to see people posting historic images on social media and we hope they’ll also reach out to the museum so those images can be saved and identified in the museum’s collection.”
No opening event is planned at this point, but virtual and in-person events will be announced as the exhibit evolves over the next two years. Contact the museum if you are interested in attending or hosting a presentation on the exhibit.
Located in the historic Carnegie Library Building.
- Tuesday through Saturday: 10 AM- 4 PM
- Sunday: 1 PM- 4 PM
Carnegie Gallery at the corner of 8th Street and M Avenue