Basement files

Except when on display or on loan, historical documents and artifacts are kept in our climate-controlled curatorial department beneath the schoolhouse. Our collections include thousands of artifacts and documents that tell the the history of Bainbridge Island and the surrounding area and more than 9,000 photographs depicting life on Bainbridge Island from 1854 to the present. These include:

  • Historical Maps, Nautical charts, and plans.
  • Logs and diaries of early explorers and settlers.
  • Census rolls and records of school attendance, post offices, hotels and cemeteries.
  • Memorabilia: postcards, ferry and steamer schedules, music and correspondence.
  • Records of industries, government agencies, organizations and individuals.
  • Archaeological materials: fossils, shells, tools and ceramic, iron and glass objects.
  • Hudson’s Bay Co. trade beads, native cedar mats, Japanese village artifacts.
  • Tools for shipbuilding, logging, millworking, carpentry, fishing and farming.
  • Original artwork and bottles, domestic items, furniture and boat models.
  • Industrial drawings and blueprints and 11 steamboat name boards.
  • Audio recordings that include oral histories, historical sounds and music.
  • Videos and films on maritime life, Japanese internment, canoe making, sailing ships,
    logging, fishing and island festivals.
  • Reference library that includes out-of-print island and regional histories, schoolbooks,
    atlases and encyclopedias.
  • Newspapers, including original copies of the two dozen published on the island and
    microfilm reels of newspapers dating from 1902 to the present.
  • Bainbridge High School yearbooks.
  • Historic resources inventory that documents archaeological sites, geological features,
    natural phenomena, and historic properties from the 1850s to 1945.
  • The Historic Properties Inventory maintained by the Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission.

Numerous documents and photographs have been organized into separate Biographical and Subject Files to facilitate a partial search for relevant information.

Our research collections are open to the general public and are used by writers and researchers, students, attorneys, teachers, artists, and residents working on family histories. Those who have special needs or access during non-business hours may contact the executive director to make special arrangements.

We welcome donations of historic artifacts, documents and photographs. To make a donation please let us know by submitting a collection donation form.