Community February 15, 2024

Preserving Poulsbo’s History

Poulsbo is known for its historic charm and Nordic flair. Take a walk down Front Street, and you will see plaques displaying information about the original businesses that stood in the places you find modern shops today. The Poulsbo Historical Society plays a vital role in preserving Poulsbo’s history and educating locals and visitors. Their motto, “Bringing the Past to Life,” takes shape through their three museums and their archive library.

Judy Driscoll, PHS Curator and Author

A true local champion, Judy Driscoll works as a Poulsbo Historical Society archivist and museum curator. Additionally, she has written multiple books about Poulsbo’s history. She joined the PHS in 2006 after retiring, which gave her more time to volunteer. She has been a history enthusiast much longer, writing a children’s book, Paul’s Place in 2004. 

The Poulsbo Historical Society inspires Judy not only to gather local history and artifacts but also to educate the community, which is changing rapidly with new growth. “We’re finding that many of our new members are those who are new to the community, don’t know much about local history, but want to become involved in an active organization,” she said.


Judy’s Favorite Thing About Being Involved

We know Judy loves helping preserve Poulsbo’s history, so we asked her what she enjoys most about being involved in the Poulsbo Historical Society. “So many people who live locally come to the museums. They say they drive by the museums every day and never stop to come in and see what is going on,” Judy explained. “They don’t realize how busy we really are! We have over 20,000 people a year come into the museums, literally from all over the world! It is no longer unusual to have people tell us they are from Chile, or Barbados, or South Africa. They tell us they love to go to small towns and visit small museums rather than the spacious city museums. They learn so much more by interacting with the greeters and seeing objects up close. That is one of my great joys, just talking with people. I’m not comfortable just walking up to someone and striking up a conversation, but the museum gives a relaxed context for doing just that. I find that these interactions are one of my favorite things.”

How to Get Involved

Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the Poulsbo Historical Society. They are in need of folks willing to act as greeters in the three museums. Time slots are fairly short (3 hours a week), and fun. Another area of need is working with the maintenance crew. They need people with basic skills or those willing to learn. The crew performs minor repairs on buildings, hauls exhibit props in and out, makes dump runs, cuts the grass, waters the lawn, and other tasks that need strong backs and willing hearts. Also, they are always on the lookout for people willing to work on their auction in many different ways. Judy said, “There are so many different areas we need fresh help with. If someone has a skill they’d like to volunteer, we can always match them up with a need.”

For as low as $25, you can become a member of the PHS. Membership benefits include special events, discounted pricing for ticketed events, and the inside scoop for all goings on. 

Additionally, tickets are now on sale for the 13th annual Codfish Dinner, their largest annual event. It will be held at the Clearwater Casino on April 20, 2024.


Windermere Poulsbo’s Involvement

We strongly believe in preserving Poulbo’s history. Our office worked with the Poulsbo Historical Society for Community Service Day in 2021. We had different crews helping in different ways. One worked in the archive center. Another crew tackled repair and maintenance projects at the Maritime Museum. A third group took care of the weeds in the flower beds at the Martinson Cabin and at the Heritage Museum. Judy shared, “You were busy all over town and accomplished so much in just one day. We really appreciated the help and cheerful willingness to tackle so many jobs. Many people don’t realize how much a service day like that means to organizations in town that rely on volunteer help – especially organizations like the Historical Society that have so many senior members who are unable to tackle physical work. I would encourage other businesses and groups like Windermere to consider service days.”

Photo from Windermere’s Community Service Day.

Working Together to Preserve Poulsbo’s History

Judy works with like-minded community members who work hard to preserve Poulsbo’s history. “Working with the board and volunteers for as many years as I have, I can honestly say that there have been very few disagreements among us. People in this organization want to see it accomplish its mission and grow. They are congenial, friendly, and excited to be a part of such an active and healthy organization. We sometimes wonder who will replace the older membership but then realize that we do have younger, energetic volunteers who have come on board in recent years who are going to be where we were 30 years ago when we were replacing the seniors who came before us. We have faith that the Poulsbo Historical Society and Museums will be around for another generation to enjoy.”


There is so much to learn about the Poulsbo Historical Society. Check out our previous blog article, or this piece by West Sound Home and Garden