Washington 125 Years of Statehood logo. (Images courtesy of Legacy Washington)
A Kickstarter private fundraising deadline is fast approaching for the latest Capitol exhibit — this one devoted to some of the biggest stories of the year of statehood, 1889. This is the 125th anniversary of being admitted to the union.
Legacy Washington, a program of the Office of Secretary of State, is gathering funding for the sixth public exhibit in the ornate lobby of the Secretary’s Office on the second floor of the Capitol. The exhibit, titled Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood, will feature several of the major storylines from that pivotal year, told through personal accounts to show different perspectives.
The events, illustrated through stories and photographs, will include the decision to make Olympia the capital city; major fires in three leading cities, including the Great Seattle Fire that destroyed most of Seattle’s business district and waterfront; how the expansion of railroads caused more people to migrate to the state than ever before; and the fight over women’s right to vote.
Besides stories and photographs, Washington 1889 will also include various artifacts from the time period, including an 11×6-foot original 42-star flag. Such flags are rare because it never became the “official” flag of the United States of America. In 1818, the Third Flag Act instilled the custom of adding a star to the flag each time a new state was added to the union. The guidelines of the Act declared that, with each new state’s admission to the union, a star must be added to the flag – but the flag would not become official until the next 4th of July. For 243 days after Washington entered the union, the American flag had 42 stars on it. But, on July 3, 1890, Idaho entered the union as the 43rd state – thus changing the flag to 43 stars the day before it became “official.”
After the exhibit comes down down next year, it will travel to schools and museums throughout the state to be enjoyed by students, educators and others.
Here is where you come in: All Legacy Washington exhibits are privately funded (no state dollars are used, except for staff time), and each depends on the generous people of Washington. For the first time, Legacy Washington has launched a Kickstarter campaign, a popular crowd-funding website, to raise the necessary funding to make the exhibit a reality. The goal for Washington 1889 is $5,000, and about 20 percent has been raised so far. The Kickstarter deadline is August 27, and the goal must be met to receive any funding.
If you would like to support this exhibit, please visit: http://kck.st/1oCcjQg. Donations go directly to building the exhibit, and you can give as little as $1.
Sponsors of the exhibit will be invited to participate in the exhibit launch on November 11. The launch will be followed by a special reception with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and exhibit staff in her office. In addition, sponsors will receive invitations throughout the year to participate in additional programs that are related to the exhibit. The names of sponsors will be displayed on all printed materials relating to the exhibit and also on the Secretary of State website.
Original 42-star flag that will be on display at the exhibit.
Cover of the original Washington State Constitution.