By Chris Hendrickson, Valley News
A virtual treasure trove of history, Sky Valley Historical Society’s free museum in Sultan has reopened to the public.
The museum, located above the Sultan Post Office at 4th and Main Street, resuming its previous schedule, will be open on the first and third Tuesdays, along with the third Saturday of each month, from 12 to 4 p.m.
The museum had been forced to close due to fire department concerns that certain parts of the building did not meet code. As a resolution to the issues, the museum will use the west entranceexclusively, and has posted maximum occupancy signs which stipulate that no more than 29 people can be visiting the museum at one time.
Iris Jensen, president of the Historical Society, is perfectly satisfied with the new agreement.
“We never have more than 29 people in there anyway,” said Jensen.
The museum takes up the entire top floor of the two-story post office and includes displays dedicated to particular aspects of Sultan’s colorful history, from logging to farming to mining and everything in between, including interesting facts about Sultan’s first pharmacy, bank and post office. Interspersed among the exhibits are random details about Sultan’s past.
There is not a specific time frame in any of the displays; they all vary. The children’s toy display features different toys from the 1800s, the 1920s, the ‘30s and the ‘40s.
The criminal justice display includes a docket with court records from the early 1900s. Visitors can page through the actual court documents and read about what types of cases were handled by Sultan’s town justice.
In 1910, a person arrested for being drunk and disorderly generally received a $5 fine, and court costs were around $2.65.
All aspects of life are represented, from sewing and women’s apparel, hats and laundry, and there is even a kitchen outfitted with antique kitchen implements, as well as a dining room table set with dishes and other artifacts.
There are educational displays, as well, including many historical photos from Sultan’s schools. The first schoolhouse was built in Sultan in 1891, and on display is the school’s water pail and dipper, the late 1890s version of a water fountain. There is also an ink jug from the 1920s that was used by the Sultan grade school.
A photography display features a Kodak camera from 1920.
The Native American display features an article from a 1976 issue of the Valley News in which a fifth-grade student named Rhonda Payne wrote about her family’s involvement in moving the bodies from the Native American cemetery to the Sultan cemetery in 1959. Her grandfather and father had participated in moving the bodies, which needed to be transferred to the cemetery due to highway construction.
“My dad and grandpa brought the bodies down in their truck, one at a time, in low gear (about 25 miles an hour) but Chief Sultan and his wife were brought down at 10 miles an hour so that their bones wouldn’t rattle. If even one bone rattled the medicine man would have to chant another two hours to make it OK,” wrote Payne.
Many of the museum’s display items have been donated to the historical society, and some are on loan from different members of the community.