On Friday afternoon, June 14, the new Highline Heritage Museum held a Grand Opening and Community Ribbon Cutting celebration.
The new museum – appropriately located right in the heart of Burien at the corner of SW 152nd Street and Ambaum Blvd. SW – has been years in the making, and this event marked a truly historic milestone.
Co-hosted by Discover Burien and the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, the celebration was emceed by Southside CEO Andrea Reay, and included speeches by local dignitaries Mayor Jimmy Matta, Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, Highline Historical Society Board President Mike Emerson and Executive Director Nancy Salguero McKay.
Absent but mentioned and honored several times was outgoing Executive Directory Cyndi Upthegrove, who has worked so hard to build the collection and museum over the last 16 or so years. Her work was also recently acknowledged when she was unanimously chosen as the City of Burien’s 2019 “Citizen of the Year.”
“This is our community. This is our history…and this museum does more than honor our past, it highlights our future,” Reay said in her opening comments.
Also on hand were previous local elected officials Steven Lamphear, Kitty Milne, Sally Nelson and Don Nubie, Burien’s first Mayor Dr. Arun Jhaveri, along with current Mayor Jimmy Matta, Deputy Mayor Austin Bell, councilmembers Krystal Marx, Bob Edgar and Nancy Tosta, King County Councilmembers Dave Upthegrove and Joe McDermott, Des Moines Councilmember Luisa Bangs, Tukwila Councilmember Kathy Hougarty, SeaTac councilmembers Joel Wachtel, Peter Kwon, Clyde Hill and Stanley Tombs, Normandy Park Mayor Jonathan Chicquette and others.
After Reay’s opening comments, members of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe conducted a blessing of the land, led by Willard Bill Jr. and his son, Justice Bill. The blessing included a short speech about how their ancestors lived in the region, especially Three Tree Point, where they spent their summers.
“This area was not only significant for my ancestors,” Justice said. “These tribal members would spend their summers at Three Tree Point.”
One ancestor was buried there, and as the area was being settled his bones were removed and spread in the waters off the beach.
“It’s events like these where I can share stories, and my family can share connection to this land that only strengthen the power that these places have for our people,” Justice said.Â “In sharing our histories, we’re not only preserving those histories, we’re providing a model for our people moving forward into the future.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Executive Director Nancy Salguero McKay – who has been working practically non-stop for the last year or two preparing the museum – raised her arms triumphantly after saying “this museum is yours!”
“Thank you, this is your museum – this is you,” she said before acknowledging and thanking volunteers.
The highlight of course was the community ribbon cutting ceremony, which invited anyone who had scissors to cut part of a very long ribbon strung across the edge of the parking lot.
The doors were then officially opened, and dozens of community members toured the new museum, which is located at 819 SW 152nd Street in Burien (map below), with a parking lot on the east/Ambaum side of the building.
- Tuesday – Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.
- First Friday Evenings: 5 – 9 p.m.
More info on the museum is available here:
- Website: https://highlinehistory.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Highline-Historical-Society-124535717563978/
- Email: [email protected]
Below are photos from the opening, courtesy Elston and Jackline Hill:
Here’s an edited, ~31-minute video shot live by Scott Schaefer (to get alerts for future live videos, be sure to “Like” us here):