Museum to celebrate 120th birthday of Midway School

A&E: Saturday’s ‘free day’ to include book signing from author of ‘Midway in History’

Special to the GatewayNovember 20, 2013 

The Harbor History Museum will hold a free day from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday to mark the 120th birthday party for the landmark Midway School, the original building that’s located at the museum.

Raffles for schoolhouse-related items will be available at $1 per ticket or six for $5. There will be opportunities for guests to take photos with “Schoolmarms or the Schoolmaster.”

In addition, there will be schoolhouse demonstrations, ornament making with schoolhouse cookie cutters for children to decorate the museum’s Christmas tree, museum tours, refreshments and a chance to meet and learn from Pioneer School Experience Program volunteers.

A brief program with guest speakers, the singing of “Happy Birthday” and a cake cutting will take place at 2 p.m.

Author Leann O’Neill will sign her recently published book, “Midway in History.” O’Neill often plays a 1901 school teacher for students who visit for a day. That’s when she becomes Schoolmarm Miss Bennett, Midway’s Headmistress.

“Midway in History” is told from the schoolhouse’s point of view. It details historic facts and feelings as the school is built and operates for classes from 1893 to today. Commemorative issues published this year to coincide with the 120th schoolhouse birthday will be available.

“Midway in History” is an all-Gig Harbor creation, from O’Neill, to illustrator Marion Ekberg, to publisher Jan Walker of Plicata Press. The cover price of $12 will be discounted to $10 on Saturday. Half the proceeds will go to Harbor History Museum education programs.

The Museum Gift Shop will host its traditional Scandinavian/Croatian Christmas Open House from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Museum volunteer coordinator Jill Myers said she could use a few extra hands.

“We are in need of volunteers throughout the day to help guide visitors and, in particular, as support for the Midway party, which will include selling raffle tickets, helping children make ornaments, serving refreshments, event setup and final cleanup,” Myers said. “If you could help out that day, even for an hour or two, it would be greatly appreciated.”

For information, call Myers at 253-858-6722, ext. 6, or visit

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at

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