Letter to the Editor: the Shoreline School District has taken over the Shoreline Historical Museum

Saturday, September 18, 2010

To the Editor:

Just like a school yard bully the Shoreline School District has taken over the Shoreline Historical Museum. Why? Because they can. How is that possible? Because they are getting away with it. They propagandized residents into believing that all was going well, all was for the best. In retrospect they have deceived the public, not to mention the Museum, at every turn.

The public has a tradition of trusting the SSD to do the right thing. It's so American, so apple pie. In this case, however, the SSD does not have the best interests of the public (or their children) at heart. Instead they will selfishly and arrogantly be spending millions of dollars to incorporate the empty shell of a once meaningfully functional historical building into the modern design of a high school which has become a monument to egos gone off track.

Not only will they be spending millions of dollars to destroy a thing of great value to us, but they are losing for the City a future source of income in the form of tourism. We have cultural, environmental, and historical assets we can and will some day share with visitors. The actions of the SSD have made certain that the Museum will never be a part of this source of pride and financial boon. Their plan instead is to gut the landmarked one hundred year old Ronald School House and send the Museum Board, the Director, the displays and the archives packing and off to an indefinite future in an as yet undetermined location. And there was absolutely no reason why this needed to be done. What a waste!

Vicki Westberg


Anonymous,  September 18, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

How did the SSD "take over" the museum? Isn't the museum an entity that exists beyond any building? Isn't there a collection and community behind it?

If the museum is truely just a building, perhaps it really wasn't much to it after all?

Anonymous,  September 18, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

@9:34 - I think evicting a party is taking over a museum, aren't we being a bit disingenuous?

Then again, since the Ronald Museum has invested millions of dollars into restoring said building, don't you think they should be reimbursed for it? They held the deed for it all these years, after all. 4Culture and other public sources of funding paid for it, and I believe that SSD needs to reimburse these programs for wasting taxpayer money.

See how easy that was, there was something to it after all.

JEDH September 18, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

@ 9:34

Our Museum was a very very unique place in that it was housed in the best display of all: a fully intact Historical School House.

Too bad our School leaders haven't shown any respect for the Museum, the Building, or the community that the Museum was lovingly and respectfully created for.

The SSD attitude reflects a disrespect that goes way beyond the point of excusing.

Anonymous,  September 18, 2010 at 11:39 PM  

It's not the teachers - It's the School District. It saddens me greatly that the SD's grandiose plans don't include the historical building itself. Egos gone wild....

JEDH September 19, 2010 at 1:48 AM  

Agreed! It's definitely not the teachers, it's the SSD leaders/admins who don't care as much about what makes (or, excuse me, made) Shoreline education great. Aspects like adequate para-ed staff, and a very special Museum.

They prefer to leave us with reduced teaching support and local history. And they get rewarded for doing so!? What's going on?!

Do these folks actually live in such cushy, pricey neighborhoods that they have forgotten what the rest of us actually NEED to even have a tiny chance at a quality life.

Janet Way September 19, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

Vicki's letter is excellent. Thanks for making the point clearly that SSD has performed a complete sleight of hand on the public, taxpayers, Museum supporters and most of all the unsuspecting children who will never realize what has been stolen from them.

Once the building is gutted by the avaricious SSD, the real history that lies within the building will be lost forever. The Museum was always more than just it's collections. It was about a community and how it was built. It was about our culture built up around our schools, Aurora Ave and hundreds of unique businesses that grew up along it, WW II Veterans and families who moved here, and even the natural history such as our creeks, wetlands and the original native people who first lived here.

The school is named for Judge Ronald, who donated the land and who's imposing image still hangs in the hallway.

This is an unbelievable travesty and loss for Shoreline and the entire North End. Those who think it doesn't matter, do not deserve a fancy new school. They need to go back to school themselves to learn why history matters.

Anonymous,  September 19, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

When will the voters of this district stop believing that the SSD can do no wrong and continue to support everthing they ask for? I voted no on the bond. Now we will loose our museum, a true landmark for Shoreline and no one seems to care. Where is the public outcry?

Anonymous,  September 20, 2010 at 1:03 AM  

If we put discussion of museum building aside for the sake of those who really don't care about losing it's historical home, I wonder how others feel about repaying the $150 MILLION DOLLAR bonds the voters authorized the SSD to spend based on incomplete and misleading information. At this point, I for one, don't trust anything the SSD Board says or does and I certainly don't want them "managing" my taxpayer dollars. How about you? Isn't it time to get a new board that will respect the community and serve as good role models for our students?

Anonymous,  September 20, 2010 at 8:50 AM  

Yes, lets "EVICT" the School Board and Superintendent!!
It's time for them to GO!

They've proven they don't deserve our respect, our votes or our tax dollars!

Anonymous,  September 20, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

If any of you dutiful Shoreline District parents who have children that are schooled in this District, but have not been to a Shoreline School Board meeting lately, it's time to go, and as soon as possible.

If you think that all is fine, with the way things are being run, it's definitely time to put the next meetings on your calendar.

Maybe you could pay a Shoreline support staff person to babysit so both parents are freed up. They need money to pay for food and rent, now that SSD is certain that pare-ed pay should be taken away and given to the top paid people in this District as unheard of raises and benies.

Just GO and be much more informed than you were before. Ignorance is dangerous!!!

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 12:07 AM  

What about the lie SSD is telling the parents about a sick out on 9/29? SSD are a bunch of alarmists, sending out a notice to create a hostile work environment for support staff for an alleged sick-out.

Unless they have a mole inside of WEA & SESPA giving them inside information, they have no direct evidence that there is a sick out, they are creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt, something they did to the museum.

Someone should check and find out if this is legal as a fair bargaining tactic under state and federal law, I wouldn't be surprised to find out if isn't since the law doesn't seem to constrain SSD.

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

It is clear now that the SSD Administration will stop at nothing to butter their own bread, line their own pockets, lie, cheat and steal to get what they want.

They have deceived the voters,and basically committed voter fraud to smash the most important cultural asset in Shoreline. Now they are unscrupulously threatening the workers who make the place run. They are now attacking the most vulnerable people in the district.

And the School Board just sits their stone faced and murmurs platitudes about how swell everything is. They are clueless and it's clear that it is time for them to pack up and go just like they are sending the Museum out on the street!

They should all be prosecuted. If I were invested, I would not invest in their Bond scam. It would be like investing in Lehman Bros. It's a ponzi scheme and now the investors are about to be scammed like the voters.

If my kids were young enough to go to school, I'd yank them out of this slime pit so fast it would make your head spin.

Shame on you Shoreline School District!

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

JEDH - I don't think I'm being disingenuous at all. In fact, I am seriously curious. Why is the building so important to the collection that the museum cannot exist without it?

And, on a related note, what is the museum doing to make themselves an indispensible part of our vibrant community? Look through this blog over the past year and you will see post after post about activities about our schools: awards, achievements, activities such as plays and sports that the entire community benefits from.

What awards has the museum won in the last year? What special activities and collections have they advertised widely for the community?

Legally evicting the museum is not the same as taking it over. Or it shouldn’t be. If all the museum is good for is the building, is it really worth saving?

Anonymous,  September 21, 2010 at 6:51 PM  

Ya know, it is really appalling to read this latest rant from Anonymous 12:42.

So the SSD goes after and evicts the Shoreline Historical Museum. The Musuem spends over a year trying to play by the rules and being out played by the sharks at SSD, who have lots of hired staff and lawyers to help them. The Museum finally says "Uncle" just to preserve what's left even though it breaks their hearts and those who care about history here.

The School District lies, cheats and defrauds the voters, taxpayers, museum supporters and even newspaper columnists into going along with the scam they've dreamed up. They perpetrate the biggest heist in the Shoreline history all for the glory of their sainted image as THE WORLDS GREATEST SCHOOL DISTRICT in their own minds.

And you blame the victim for not winning awards? I hereby give them an award for surviving this year and retaining their sanity and any semblance of a Museum!

Do you think they should get an award like the PIO of Shoreline Schools did for being the best BS artist in the business?
Not the kind of award I'd want on my wall!

JEDH September 21, 2010 at 11:42 PM  

@ Anonymous 12:42:

I don't recall any Museum ever tooting its horn with a bunch of awards. Why do they need awards when the value of history is basically priceless?

Have you been keeping up with recent news in addition to going to school plays? Research shows that the reward system is a sham. It works well for such things as training a dog, or making a factory worker produce faster. It doesn't encourage creative and critical thinking skills, which is what we really need in our ever challenging world now.

I also appreciate having culture and arts in the schools. I couldn't live without that either. The awards are mostly for egos, though. Excellent education is more of what will make our kids succeed and contribute to making our world better.

No one will ever be able to convince me to devalue historic preservation after hearing children say how much they "love that place", or hearing from a long time teacher that our Museum was "their favorite field trip".

The building just happens to be very special to this area. It is well preserved and makes for an awesome trip to the past. I can't remember the last time I saw such a place, and I do mean the interior, especially. But still, it is only part of what make the Museum valuable to our entire community, especially the youth, and to the tourist aspects, as well. I always visit Museums when I travel. I will keep an eye out for any awards, too, just out of curiosity.

JEDH September 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

@ Anonymous 12:42:

You may have comingled comments. I did not say anyone was ever being disingenuous. I am fine with your questioning, too. I think it's great we have these discussions going on. (-:

Anonymous,  September 23, 2010 at 12:33 AM  

Just for fun, I did a little poll today at the Fred Meyer (a few blocks from the musuem). Of the 40 respondents.

18 Didn't know that Shoreline had a museum (this included 2 Shorewood students who must pass by it every day).

6 Knew it existed but didn't know where it was.

11 Knew where it was located but had never visited.

4 Had visited once.

1 Had visited more than once.

Remember, this is only a few blocks from the current location.

I know the musesum has aredent supporters on this board, but you should realize that it hasn't done a good job reaching out to the community. When I visited just after we moved here, I was extremely disappointed by the staff, collection, and physical layout.

If the museum really is a vital part of the community, a change of location will not make it disappear. The SSD has only "taken over" the museum if the people who care about it let that happen.

Anonymous,  September 23, 2010 at 9:11 PM  

@ 12:33 am

Thank you for surveying.

We would need more information from those surveyed in order to get a better picture, however. 12.5% is not too bad, though. I don't even shop at Fred Meyer anywhere near that percentage of my shopping trips.

There were plans in effect that would have allowed for those Brown Historic Museum signs on I5. Plus, an increased marketing campaign was in the works, but, the Museum must focus on a major move, not so much on handling visitors. Unfortunately the signs are only available to Museums that are not in process of being displaced.

For more Museum information you can visit the City of Shoreline website and view the July 19 meeting where the Museum makes a good presentation.

I know I will be visiting again soon, and bringing a bunch of friends that appreciate Museums. Some of these friends are from North Seattle and have known about this place for a very long time, and have been there at least once, some more than that.

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