RAYMOND — Covid has most certainly made our lives interesting! There are so many variations of how folks have been hit on every level, it’s been difficult. Small businesses were hit hard, including the Northwest Carriage Museum, with mandatory closures, less travelers, safety precautions — we are all figuring out how to best survive.
On the bright side, we know we have a fabulous community. People and businesses have rallied to take care of each other. After being closed for three months through much of our busiest season, the museum is incredibly grateful for the support of our members, visitors and donators and we wanted to give something back. You may have heard about our NWCM face masks; a dollar of each sale goes to the North Pacific County Food Bank! The masks have been a success and we are pleased to be providing the food bank with a check first check of $100 which will help several local families. Bonnie Ryan, food bank manager, expressed her sincere thanks and gratitude. This is our small way to show we care. By the way, our masks are still available in our gift shop so help us help the food bank even more!
We are so proud that the Northwest Carriage Museum is Pacific’s County’s largest year-round tourist attraction. The museum houses one of the finest collections 19th century horse-drawn vehicles in the country and is recognized not only for our collection of vehicles and artifacts but also for our knowledge of history, restoration and conservation. Last year, the museum drew 10,000-plus visitors to Willapa Country. It was a phenomenal year, and we were looking forward to another incredible year of growth in 2020. But, then came the virus. Our visitor attendance has been negatively affected. Tourism is down everywhere, and the big tours of the past simply are not happening. Neither are our speaking engagements throughout the Pacific Northwest, where we talk about our collection and promote local businesses and Pacific County.
In spite of this, we’re carrying on. We’ve continued to add new artifacts and our 58th carriage was added to our historic collection! To be honest, the museum has never been cleaner, carriages have been spit shined and dusted during our closure. Now that we’re open, we are very serious in following all the current safety guidelines — hand sanitizing stations are throughout the museum, masks are required and we ensure no one touches the carriages and artifacts (a surprisingly hard task). On the bright side, it is easy to maintain 6-foot social distancing in our 12,000-square-foot building.
We are so appreciative of all our members, donors and friends far and near who have been so generous during this unusual year. Our heartfelt thanks to all that have helped us keep history alive. We know we couldn’t do it without you! Although our attendance is down, visitors are steadily returning and they tell us just how grateful they are that we’re open. Our gift sales are doing well and we are pleased to carry a selection of many local products and a variety of gifts, from books, scarves, jewelry and toys! Stop by for some Christmas shopping this year. There really is something for everyone! The saying “when the times get tough, the tough get going” truly applies to the great community we are fortunate enough to live in. We are so proud to be here and we will get through this virus rough patch together!
October was traditionally the time for our annual fundraiser. Obviously with the pandemic this did not happen. So, we’ve decided to make the last month of 2020 extra special! We know people are looking for something to do in a safe environment. This December, all Pacific County and Grays Harbor residents will have $5 admission throughout the month — and members of course are always admitted free. There will be special events on Saturdays throughout the month including “Sleigh Saturday,” Dec. 5 — take your picture in our historic 1890 Christmas sleigh! Additional events during December will include a Santa scavenger hunt and, for your viewing pleasure, a special Santa Collection with over 300 Santas will be on display. Don’t miss our beautifully decorated live tree in the Barn and even more fun surprises. Don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets either. We will have several baskets with local gift certificates and full of holiday goodies. Follow us on social media or our website for details. Don’t miss out on the live auction — the “Grand Raffle Basket” is going to be fantastic!
I think we all agree that as the year 2020 comes to an end, we all deserve a fun and joyous holiday season. So come on down and enjoy the Northwest Carriage Museum! Feel free to call us at 360-942-4150 for more info about our December holiday plans. We look forward to seeing you in December. Bring the kids, bring the family, bring some friends — we all deserve some fun in our lives! Be well, stay safe and know we care! The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 360-942-4150 or visit www.nwcarriagemuseum.org for information.