Historical Society of Federal Way offers virtual tour of WWII history exhibit

The Historical Society is also asking for community members to submit their stories of the pandemic.

You can experience a trip back in time to World War II with a new virtual tour of the Historical Society of Federal Way’s latest exhibit.

The Historical Society of Federal Way, located across from Steel Lake in the Heritage Center of Federal Way, offers a safe sanctuary for exhibits, artifacts and information about Federal Way and South King County’s past.

“World War II: Washington Remembers” is the society’s latest exhibit, showcasing Federal Way’s service members, military artifacts from the 1930s and 1940s, along with stories of trials and tribulations felt throughout the state.

While the foundation of the information is provided by Legacy Washington’s traveling exhibit, the historical society is adding local flair with memorabilia from Federal Way veterans. Stories and artifacts highlight local heroes, including a wooden plaque created by the woodshop teacher from Federal Way High School containing a list of every student from FWHS who signed up for the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“We are so excited to bring this exhibit to the public,” Suzanne Vargo said of the virtual tour. The video was filmed and produced by local videographer Michael Dziak of EVI Productions (Enhanced Visual Images).

The exhibit also features a showcase 1942 kitchen, highlighting the importance of “victory gardens,” rationing and food preservation like canning and dehydration that people experienced in the 1940s era.

The exhibit also features Spotters, local groups formed to spot enemy planes on the West Coast. This portion of the museum includes news articles from the Auburn and Kent newspapers dating back to 1942-44.

A 1970s newspaper article also explains the North Lake water co-op that formed the Civilian Defense Group. These individuals stockpiled Red Cross stations in members’ basements, and the group’s nightly volunteers would watch for planes at the Redondo watchtower, Vargo said. This group later became today’s North Lake Community Club.

Find a comfy spot, grab a beverage and relax for 20 minutes as you explore a part of history.

View the WWII Exhibit tour on YouTube.

Submit your piece of history

The Historical Society is asking residents to submit their stories during these historic times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is up to all of us to keep our history documented,” according to a news release from the center. “All of this information will be tabulated and will serve us greatly … You are making history too.”

Gas prices are at an all-time low. Many church parking lots were empty on the Easter holiday. New infrastructure is quickly taking shape.

If you see something unusual or new, or buildings that are boarded up, the center is asking for you to submit a story of what you’re seeing, or anything that helps tell your community’s story. Your stories will be added as a part of the center’s collections.

“We are all experiencing extraordinary changes in our lives and community,” Vargo said. “We want this to be fun and maybe a bit therapeutic as we document our Federal Way history.”

For tips on how to journal effectively and more information on how to submit your piece of history, visit federalwayhistory.org.

The Historical Society of Federal Way is run by donations and during this time of closure, any contributions are welcome no matter how big or small. For the time being, donation are accpeted only through scheduled appointments. Contact Karen at contactus@federalwayhistory.org to donate.

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