The Northwest Veterans Museum is now open at Heritage Park in Lynnwood.
The museum held its grand opening ceremony on Saturday, May 6. Representatives from several veterans organizations, families of veterans, as well as city and elected officials were in attendance.
Mayor Nicola Smith said she got the idea for bringing the Northwest Veterans Museum to Lynnwood after hearing about the Seattle Veterans Museum closing down.
“I said, let’s just see if that museum would like to come to Lynnwood,” Smith said during her opening remarks at the grand opening. That was back in 2015.
Museum Board Member Todd Crooks, a Navy veteran, remembers the moment he heard from the City of Lynnwood well. After the Seattle Veterans Museum closed in 2012, it was given a temporary home in Everett in 2013. After having to close down there, he sent letters to several cities in north King County and Snohomish County. He said every city he contacted told him no.
He had all but given up when Lynnwood reached out.
“It’s a miracle,” Crooks said. “It’s unbelievable, it really is.”
He said he’s not sure how he missed Lynnwood when he initially began reaching out to other cities to find a place to display veteran-related artifacts. By the time Lynnwood contacted him, he had sold off mannequins and various display cases, but had held onto the artifacts. Some were displayed in his house while others were stored in the basement.
Now, the items are proudly on display inside the Wickers Building at Heritage Park.
In addition to the displays of artifacts, a round table is situated just to the left of the entrance to the museum, so veterans can sit together and share stories.
“It’s not very big, but it has a big heart,” said Zabine Van Ness, Northwest Veterans Museum’s director.
The museum’s regular hours are Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Heritage Park is located at 19921 Poplar Way in Lynnwood. Those interested in volunteering at the museum can contact Zabine Van Ness at 206-390-9982.
–Story and photos by Natalie Covate