New exhibit, changes embrace museum

Kent's enchanting and ever-changing museum is making improvements while offering new exhibits.

Nancy Simpson

Nancy Simpson

Kent’s enchanting and ever-changing museum is making improvements while offering new exhibits.

The latest display is a closer look at Fort Thomas, a strategically placed blockhouse on the Green River during the Indian War Era, 1855-1856. The log-enforced fort was essentially built and erected by regular U.S. Army troops for the protection of pioneer settlers in the White and Green River valleys during the hostile era.

The Kent Historical Museum’s latest exhibit, which has received good reviews, is open to the public. The exhibit, replete with descriptive maps, photos and other artifacts, includes a scaled-down replica of Fort Thomas built by Chuck Simpson and Dan Ulrey. The exhibit is on the second floor of the historic Bereiter House, 855 E. Smith St.

Fort Thomas played an important part in protecting settlers’ interests during the hostile era of the treaty wars in Washington Territory, said Nancy Simpson, president of the Greater Kent Historical Society. Such a chapter in local history needs to be told.

“No one has recognized that for a long time,” Simpson said of the fort’s significance. “As a museum in Kent … we should be responsible for educating our citizens. This is really important for kids. This is not just something in a book or on the television, this is something that really happened.”

Also on display at the museum is a look at O’Brien, a former community that was just north of today’s Green River Natural Resources Area, on the right bank of the river. At one time, the community had a post office and a school.

With the help of generous donations, the museum continues to make improvements, the latest of which is a renovation to its kitchen.

More donations are needed to help sustain and improve the historic house.

The museum is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. Parking is available behind the house off East Temperance Street.

Admission is by a suggested $2 donation.

To donate or to learn more, visit

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