In recent years Forks has probably become most famous for the Twilight series. If you are to believe the internet it was supposedly chosen by the author as a home for vampires after she did a search for the rainiest, gloomiest part of America and was pointed towards the Olympic peninsula. But Forks wasn’t built on vampire hunting tourism. It was the trees that drew people there, and information about this is handily summed up in the quaint little timber museum.
After a holiday of laughing at my auntie Lucy about her excitement about the logging industry, we couldn’t possibly drive past the Timber Museum.
True to its name, the Timber Museum is made from logs. In fact it was made in 1989 by the local high school as a project. Outside on the roadside there is a large painted wooden model of a pair of lumberjacks advertising the museum. It was this that had alerted my auntie of its presence in the town, which just goes to show that even the most simple of roadside advertising can be advantageous.
The sun was shining went we stopped by, admittedly a bad day for vampires, but they may have appreciated the cool shade of the museum. Volunteer run, on entering we were welcomed with a loud American ‘hello’, a leaflet of information to take around with us and overwhelming enthusiasm. The personality and atmosphere of this locally built and locally run museum, filled with personal stories about the logging industry that created the town, made the place glow with pride.
There is an excellent board of logging lingo, examples of different kinds of wood interspersed with black and white photographs and logging related objects, from chainsaws to large wooden wedges for splitting wood. There is a half built and abandoned canoe in the rafters a lucky discovery by loggers who brought it down to the museum.
Obviously such a little local museum will not get the same funding as a larger one on a main tourist route and the displays here look more like those of a school project than a larger museum’s exhibition. But this is not a bad thing, the information that is being given is just as valid regardless of what medium it is printed on. Extra information and handouts were made available in handmade fabric pouches, rather than anything bought off the shelf. There was also clear evidence of the museum interacting with its local community, which is something that larger venues could easily overlook. Letters created by visiting school children were neatly displayed and the lady volunteering happily chatted about elderly locals that popped by regularly to tell her stories about growing up in the town.
Many visit Forks to be close to vampires and werewolves, but this little museum really highlights trees as the superstars of the area so I hope they pop by here too.