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Lakewood Historical Society Serves as Model for UP efforts

Museum provides a road map for sister-city museum effort

The Lakewood Historical Society considers itself successful and a volunteer start-up effort in University Place wants to do the same. The UP Historical Society recently stopped by the Lakewood museum to find ways they can grow.

"They are a very small, but dedicated group," Lakewood President Becky Huber said. "It was interesting to see them do what our group was doing years ago."

University Place doesn't have hotels, which limits the non profit organization's funding sources. Lakewood, on the other hand, has a built-in lodging tax with hotels and motels generating tourism dollars.

Huber said it hampers them quite a bit but she advised the University Place group to be creative in finding ways to increase membership, include a business membership option and develop a marketing plan that establishes partnerships with other groups.

The UP Historical Society has about 15 people. It formed a research committee that visited local museums such as Lakewood, Steilacoom, DuPont and Fife in an effort to form one of their own. The group landed a big victory last year when they designated the city's Curran House, which overlooks the well-loved apple orchard park, as a historical landmark on the Washington State Heritage Register.

The Curran House was built in the mid-20th century and was designed by noted Tacoma architect Robert Price. It was the first property in UP to be listed on the state registry and is also a candidate for the National Registry. The UP Historical Society earned a $1,000 grant from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to repair the home's deck

The UP group is mainly looking for ways to present the city's history and generate money to fund educational efforts. An Arcadia Publishing book on University Place history is also in the works and will likely be published later this year.

People can call 253-682-3480 or e-mail lakewoodhistorical.org if they're interested in joining the University Place Historical Society.

Christie Anderson January 08, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Wonderful article on University Place Historical Society's efforts. A big thank you to The Lakewood Historical Society for providing tips and ideas on building the membership of UPHS.
Cindy Bonaro January 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
If you would like more information about the UP Historical Society, please contact Cindy Bonaro at curranhouse@gmail.com. We meet the second Wednesday of each month at 7 pm at the UP Library. Please join us!

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