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Special Exhibits

Treasures from the Shenandoah

November 16, 2019 – September 2021

Discover the treasures held hidden for decades by the Shenandoah and revealed only in the process of restoration. Objects of light, fascination, and wonder, these treasures are full of surprises.


They tell stories of crewmen and women, of lives on land and sea. Made possible only in this moment of the restoration process, this exhibit will surprise and delight.

The Shenandoah was donated to the Harbor History Museum by the Janovich family in 2000 and pulled out of the water for documentation and conservation in 2003. She will be the centerpiece of our new Maritime Gallery, opening in 2025. Don’t miss this exhibit showcasing some of her before-now-hidden treasures. It is fascinating!

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The Fleet & The Flags

We were delighted to work with Purdy Elementary to create this fun fishing boat art exhibit. Fourth and fifth grade students studied our local fishing fleet then created watercolor pen and ink drawings of their very own imaginary fishing boat. Artwork has been returned to the students. Watch here for our next exhibit.

Emerson & Porpoise

Emerson & the Porpoise: Two Centuries of Rowing the Pacific

Currently on View

Two rowboats, two centuries, two vastly different experiences. Located in the Museum's courtyard, this special exhibit features Emerson, a custom-built vessel used to make the 336-day journey across the Pacific Ocean in 2018-2019. The feat was dreamed up and accomplished by Jacob Adoram Hendrickson, who achieved a world-record for the longest, unaided, solo, non-stop row across an ocean.

The Porpoise, a replica survey gig based on those used by the Wilkes American Exploring Expedition of 1841, is literally the boat that gave Gig Harbor its name. A beautiful wooden rowing vessel, it was built for the Washington State Centennial in 1989. 

Hendrickson Mission Accomplished Poster.
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