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Fife History Museum hires new director

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Fife History Museum is one of the city’s greatest treasures. Located in the historic former home of Louis Dacca, a member of the original Fife City Council, and stationed across from Columbia Junior High at 2820 54th Ave. E., the museum is a window into Fife’s storied history.

The museum is looking to be elevated even further by new museum director Julie Watts, a former Fife/Milton/Edgewood Chamber of Commerce member who is diving head first into her new position.

“I’m just so passionate about history and it truly is an honor to get to help continue the legacy going on at the museum – to help learn the stories and help share the stories so everyone can enjoy them,” Watts said.

Watts officially came on board on Jan. 25 and is currently in the process of developing plans to spread the word about the museum.

“We want to make sure the Fife community knows that they don’t have to go out of Fife to learn about why history is important. We’ve got such a rich history here…fourth and fifth generations of some of the early settler families that still live here today,” Watts said. “We’re lucky enough to have all sorts of memorabilia and stories that really explain what friendship looked like in the early days, and that helps us determine where we’re going to go in the future.”

Watts wants to honor and celebrate the history of the city while pushing the museum to the next level.

“To me, I love history and it is so fascinating being able to sit in a chair someone sat in 100 years ago and hear about the personalities of the people that homesteaded Fife. We want to be acknowledging the Native American relationship and how things unfolded in the 1800’s, and why they unfolded so we can learn and respect the history of Fife being Native American land. I think that’s really important. Students growing up can understand how things unfolded, lessons on how to learn from the mistakes of the past and bring the community together, just learn and understand,” Watts said.

The history museum’s primary caretaker is Louise Hospenthal, whose roots in Fife extend back to the Frank Albert family, the first Swedish family in the area.

“[The museum is] the real story of Fife. It’s the realization of what Fife was and how it got to what it is. Fife is rich in history – we were a service community to the city of Tacoma, we provided Tacoma with produce and dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Everything provided was by people that worked hard in a very proud and ethnic community,” Hospenthal said.

Hospenthal believes Watts is the perfect hire, and that she will continue to foster the friendly environment the museum provides.
“Julie is just the right person to take it to the next level. We’re so excited to have her on board,” Hospenthal said. “She has a bright smile, a trainload of enthusiasm, good technical skills and the desire to learn the next thing.”

The museum is open Wednesday from noon to 4:30 p.m., Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday on a call first basis. For more information, call (253) 896-4710.

“The museum is quite honestly the jewel of Fife. We are very lucky to have this in such a small town,” Hospenthal said.

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