Keeping tradition alive

Kitsap County Historical Society & Museum

Open house

Time: 5 to 8 p.m.

Date: today

Place: 280 Fourth Street in Bremerton.

Admission: free

Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet

Time: 2 p.m. (social hour at 1 p.m.)

Date: tomorrow

Place: Bremer Student Center on Olympic College campus

Tickets: available in advance at the Bremerton Tennis & Athletic Club, Ralph’s Red Apple (Kitsap Way) and Pacific Northwest Team Sports (East Bremerton).

The shadow of a miniature wooden ship stretches across the dimly lit underworld.

A sprawl of jewelry, telegraphs, typewriters and maps occupy this space, the private archives room below the Kitsap County Historical Society & Museum.

The objects are abundant, varying in size and age, but collectively, they trace back the county's history — shipping, logging, art, politics — in nearly every capacity.

Except sports.

"It's been a hotbed for sports, the Kitsap Peninsula," said Don Atkinson, a co-founder of the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable who is partnering with the Historical Society on a sports exhibit he hopes will include memorabilia dating back 50-some years. "The thought was that we could preserve some things to spotlight the athletes and coaches from over the years."

With the help of Historical Society volunteers, particularly Nina Hallett, who is helping to curate the yet-to-be-completed exhibit, Atkinson hopes to have the project complete by the summer of 2010.

In conjunction with BAR's annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, which is tomorrow, the Historical Society is previewing the exhibit. Along with BAR, it will host a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today.

The modest collection includes a photo of Bob Moawad, who coached the Central Kitsap boys basketball team to a state title in 1969 and is among tomorrow's inductees, as well as photos of Ed Fisher, Harland Svare and others.

"Kitsap County, over the years, has had some really outstanding athletics," Atkinson said. "It's been a way of life."

Gathering dated sports memorabilia, however, has proved a challenge for Atkinson. Some of the items have simply gone missing over time, others are in the possession of people who are no longer living in the area.

The Historical Society receives objects and artifacts via donations.

"The sports people realize they are losing a lot of the historical documents," said Mark Williamson, a Historical Society volunteer since 2004.

"It's taken longer than expected," Atkinson added.

The Historical Society, an all-volunteer organization that moved into its current location on Fourth Street in Bremerton in 1995, unveils new exhibits in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk. A display that will trace the history of the county's print industry is set to go up in November.

While the organization receives a small amount of money from the city as well as an operating grant from the county, Hallett said the Historical Society depends heavily on the 200-some volunteers who help out each year. Of those 200, about 20 are "consistent volunteers."

"We can't do things without them," Hallett said. "We are very much a nonprofit outfit."

Among tomorrow's BAR Hall of Fame inductees are Tara Kirk, Dana Kirk, Lori Carver, Pam Clark Marquardt, Art Ellis, Jim Harney, Ron Hudiberg, Jake Maberry, Benji Olson, Aaron Sele, Ron Vehrs and Rosie Zimsen Shephard.

"The enthusiasm for the display comes from both organizations," Williamson said. "We think that what we present to the public should include sports because it plays a large role in Kitsap County's history."

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