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Sidney Museum, Gallery building earns historic designation

Sidney Museum & Arts Association board president Jud Turner inspects the Port Orchard historic structure.   - File photo
Sidney Museum & Arts Association board president Jud Turner inspects the Port Orchard historic structure.
— image credit: File photo

The 102-year-old Sidney Museum and Arts Association building has again been recognized for its historic presence in downtown Port Orchard.

Earlier this spring, the imposing wooden frame building at the corner of Sidney and Prospect streets was approved by the Governor’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for listing on the Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places.

At the time, the Council also nominated the building for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

On May 10 the Department of the Interior, which administers the National Register, approved the nomination and placed the building on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.

This is the only Port Orchard building currently on the National Register.

The circa-1908 building has had a varied history of users during its lifetime, including the Port Orchard Masonic Order, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Order of Odd Fellows, and the offices of the Port Orchard Independent newspaper.

In addition to the honor, the designation offers further reassurance the building won’t be a casualty to downtown Port Orchard’s revitalization efforts.

“This does give us certain protections,” said SMMA board president Jud Turner. “Now if the city should ever decide to get rid of the building, it will have to go through the state.”

The Port Orchard City Council issued a resolution in February stating the building wouldn’t be torn down, but the measure wasn’t binding.

“A new council could reverse this anytime they want,” Concilman John Clauson said at the time. “But this resolution makes them feel more secure about their future.”

“I never really heard too much talk about getting rid of the building anyway,” Turner said. “But you always have to protect yourself.”

SMAA acquired the building in 1972 and began the process of adapting the then 64-year-old building to its ultimate uses as a gallery and museum.

The lower floor is now devoted to the display and sale of art works by northwest artists, while the upper level contains the Sidney Historical Museum SMAA also operates the Log Cabin Museum located at 416 Sidney Avenue, Port Orchard.

SMAA operates as a nonprofit corporation through the financial support of its members, corporate sponsors, art sales and fundraising events.

About 25 volunteers staff the facility during visiting hours, and three volunteers provide routine upkeep and repairs.

Overall management is handled by a volunteer board of directors and one part-time, paid gallery manager.

The gallery and museum are open to visitors 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

There is no charge for admission.

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