Looks of awe fill the Museum and Arts Center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley at the First Friday Art Walk.
After two months of construction and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, the museum opened its doors for the 15th annual Student Art Show.
"People come in and say, 'Wow!'" said John D'Urso, museum trustee.
The remodel has opened space for accessibility and includes newer and more interactive exhibits.
"Everything was very cramped but now it is wide open," said Helen Coleman, president of the board of trustees for the museum.
In September 2008, trustees went to the Bainbridge Island Historical Society and Museum and were inspired by its presentation.
"They are award-winning, and we wanted to follow them," D'Urso said.
The museum has new flooring and insulation. Lights now use compact fluorescent bulbs for energy efficiency.
Katherine Vollenweider, executive director of the museum, said many people have commented on the lighting and how much brighter it is, but she said not much has changed with the lighting except the bulbs.
In the next six months, the museum will introduce new exhibits including:
_ The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
_ Sequim's industrial evolution in dairy farming, wine making and lavender
_ Multicultural and multigenerational history of Sequim and the Olympic Peninsula
"We want to highlight what makes Sequim unique," Vollenweider said.
The exhibits will become more interactive, with telephone receivers that give the oral history of a specific display. Some exhibits will have drawers below with additional resources. Patrons can change the disks out of players, too, for different displays.
Vollenweider said the museum is changing to become more hands-on for its participants.
She was glad the museum hosts the student art show annually.
"Our goal is to play that role in the community where we can bring people together. We want to be that part of the community."
May 2 is the grand reopening, to coincide with the Irrigation Festival.
The museum will be open through the grand opening, and the student art show is displayed through March 26. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at 175 W. Cedar St, Sequim.
The museum's annual dinner auction is 5-9 p.m. March 21 at SunLand Golf and Country Club, 109 Hilltop Drive. Tickets cost $50 per person. Call 681-2257 for tickets and information on corporate tables.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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