New to the Winlock Historical Museum are wood carvings by Don Bray, grandfather of Winlock resident Dave Rubert, which were contributed to the museum after the Castle Rock Exhibit Hall closed May 31.
In the final hours leading up to Egg Days 2014, Dave Rubert and Sherri Kretz appeared to be at home in the chaos that was the Winlock Historical Museum.
The interior has taken on a significant facelift in recent months with volunteers Rubert, Kretz, Shelly Vogel, Paul Foster and Ann Rubert, among other supporters, spending many hours to prepare for the building’s 100th anniversary this year.
Constructed in 1914, the two-story brick building had at certain points housed Winlock’s jail, firehouse, City Hall and even a library before becoming home to the museum in 2010.
Also being celebrated this year are the addition of artifacts and fixtures from the recently-closed Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, including several storage cabinets and wooden sculptures.
“They are really nice for us because we had a lot of exhibits, but we had no place to display them,” said Dave Rubert of the shelving, himself a Cowlitz County native who has lived in Winlock since 2000.
A long-time local photographer, Dave Rubert has put his skills to work at the museum by scanning and restoring many donated and borrowed historical photos, then printing and framing them to be displayed throughout the facility.
In fact, the museum has found a good way to increase their collection. Local families are invited to bring in photos appropriate to the museum and Dave Rubert will scan them.
“It is a real good situation because the museum has a copy and the family has back-ups," commented Kretz. “He can do it while they stand there and watch."
Upstairs, newly-processed images coincide with logging equipment donated by local dealer and designer Russ Smith. Next door, one of the original desks used by the City of Winlock sits next to a collection dedicated to Earl and Eva Cummings. The Cummings family owned the first service station at the current post office location and then eventually owned other gas stations throughout Lewis County including what is now Fred's Shell.
Work was also being completed on hanging and placing Winlock High School class photos and other WHS memorabilia expected to be on loan from the school through the summer months.
“We want to rotate displays so we have something new all the time,” said Dave Rubert, adding this is a challenge in operating the museum.
And though monetary donations are certainly needed to help meet these and other challenges, Dave Rubert said members of the community with significant artifacts are needed to help keep the exhibits fresh.
“We need people to share their stuff with the community,” he said.
Volunteers like Dave Rubert have certainly done their part. Currently on display are carvings by his grandfather Don Bray, who worked at the Weyerhaeuser Pulp Mill. After retiring, Bray took up carving and created a number of pieces honoring the regional lumber industry, which had been housed in Castle Rock before the Exhibit Hall’s closure.
Some of his work occupies space in the museum until a collection can replace it in the future. In addition, Rubert filled one of the new display cases with his personal camera collection, which is of universal interest.
As new displays come and go at the Winlock Historical Museum, the past becomes new again for both guests and locals, thanks in large part to a dedicated group of volunteers working hard to keep the facility fresh and engaging.
The original desk used by the City of Winlock has been hidden in a closet and now is part of the upstairs display.
Another tribute to the Winlock's Logging and wood products heritage resides upstairs in the museum.
Memories from Winlock High School reside in a new cabinet that was recently acquired from the recently closed Castle Rock Exhibit Hall.
The Otis Roundtree award sits on a shelf between images of the 1929 (left) and 1932-33 Winlock High School basketball teams.
Visitors can see the refurbished City of Winlock jail, used until the 1950s.