Feb 14, 2011 - Travel, USA, Washingon    7 Comments

Lynden Pioneer Museum

I’m still on an early schedule, so I’ve been getting up at the absurd time of 7AM. It’s still dark at 7AM!

I spent a few blustery hours catching up on some things, but after one gust rocked the rig so much it propelled my computer chair clear out of the study and into the dressing room–while I was sitting in it–I decided that I needed to get out. I vaguely remembered someone telling me that the nearby town of Lynden (through which I drove on border crossing day) has a museum that I’d like. I decided to go on an adventure and check it out with no advance research.

That ‘someone’ knows me frightening well. The Lynden Pioneer Museum is one of the best museums I have encountered in my North American travels!

I pulled into Lynden at about 10 and parked at one end of Front Street, which is the tourist strip. I popped into the visitor info centre and was told that the museum and Front Street antique shops are really the only things to see. I strolled four or five blocks until I found the unimposing museum housing many treasures.

I was greeted warmly by the volunteers, one of whom lives part-time in Alaska and knows Dawson and Whitehorse well! Her husband was touring around on his motorcycle last year, so there is a very good chance he stayed at Bonanza Gold (I didn’t think to ask, but we are ‘Motorcycle Friendly’.). Funny; it’s such a small world!

The museum is huge and thoughtfully laid out. One half the main floor is all about Lynden’s pioneer days and the Victorian era. I liked how the museum presented everything in its historical context. I know a lot about this period in history and still managed to learn many new things.

This section also has a bit devoted to WWII, but I went through that stuff very quickly. It interests me greatly, but always leaves me in a deep funk.

From this half of the museum, you can go down into the buggy exhibit. From what I understood, someone collected all these old buggies and donated them to the town. Instead of putting them in storage, they built an exhibit around them. And what an exhibit! Unlike so many displays of old vehicles that simply present them with a name plate, there was a lot of contextual information. I also found it very clever that they described the vehicles in contemporary terms, for example showing a lightweight model and comparing it to a sports car, or a sturdy, affordable Surrey buggy and saying it was the Honda Civic of its day.

The other half of the museum is stunning. It’s a faithful reproduction of Front Street in the early days of Lynden. You can check out all the businesses, then climb up to the second level and see things from a different perspective. While there was a logical layout and flow to everything, every step and turn around a corner led to a new surprise.

I spent about an hour and a half in this museum, which is the absolute minimum amount of time this small-town gem deserves. I could have easily spent another hour reading through the binder filled with 19th century correspondence.

After the museum, I decided to go check out the antique shops. Now that I live in an RV, I never shop without a goal in mind, and there were three things I wanted that I could only find in an antique shop. So, I’ve been casually scoping out the shops around here, but striking out at each one. Well, I hit pay dirt in Lynden!

I broke two pieces of my blue willow china since I got back from Montreal (just dropped them, had nothing to do with RV travel) and wanted to replace them–a small dessert bowl and a saucer. I found both of these items, plus another item I have been wanting for months: a large cast iron frying pan. I’ve been unhappy with my Teflon frying pan over the gas stove and been wanting to convert back to cast iron. But such pans are very trendy nowadays and incredibly hard to find. I found a good-sized one in fantastic shape for just $24. That’s the price for an unseasoned piece of crap in a home store, so I made a run for the cash register!

My shopping done, I decided to head home and have lunch there; I didn’t know it was possible to squeeze in so much activity before noon! 😀

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  • That is a museum I’d like to wander through, and I’m not big on museums any more. The buggies and stagecoaches would interest me. Thanks for the tour.

  • The more I travel, the less I want to do the ‘tourist thing’, but I’m always a sucker for a pioneer museum! 😀

  • Wow, talk about piquing my interest. When we first moved to the Netherlands, we knew full well the significance of just being Canadian. But it wasn’t until after we had been there for a time that we began to fully appreciate the extent to with the Dutch are still very much connected to Canada and how the whole WW2 experience is indelibly etched into their collective conciousness. As an example, the school kids look after the graves sites for all fallen soldiers.
    I have to confess I’ve never been too much of a history buff, but after living in Europe where, to put it in the care-taking vernacular, “a lot shit happened” one does begin to have an “appreciation”, shall we say?
    Not only that, but we lived in the town of Delden where, on April of 1945 the Lincoln and Welland regiment had come through to push back the Germans. They then went north along the Twente canal to the North Sea. There’s a brief snippet here, if you’re remotely interested. http://canadianheroes.org/loren/twente.htm

    I know what you mean about leaving you in a “funk”. I had visited many grave sites in the area at the time, and to see how young these guys were just breaks your heart.
    Oh, and that picture you put in of the windmill? With the cloud cover like that, I could have sworn it was somewhere in Holland.
    Again. Wow.

  • Canada’s relationship with Holland is so special. The Dutch haven’t forgotten what we did for them.

    That was an interesting article, thanks for the link!

    (I deleted your other comment after fixing this comment. 😉 )

  • […] at Fred Meyer this week, and for $19, I jumped! Doesn’t it look pretty next to my new-to-me cast iron pan? And note in the background that I put up a hook for my stove […]

  • […] an odd choice for an RVer, but for me, it has made perfect sense. I have been so happy with the cast iron pan I picked up in Lynden, WA. Admittedly, it took me some time to learn how to properly care for this precious addition to my […]

  • […] if I trusted my oven, I don’t have any ovenware here, so I made dinner in my cast iron skillet, layering tortillas and a chicken and rice mixture, then drenching the whole thing in green sauce, […]

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