Navy museum makes port visit

The U.S. Navy is mobile by nature.

Soon, Bremerton’s Naval Museum will be as well.

The venerable collection of ship models, uniforms, bells, anchors, guns and countless photos and memories appears set to move into the Amy Burnett building at Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue. The city, which has ultimate control of the museum, will rent space for the museum from Burnett whose gallery occupies the other half of the building.

“It’s going to make a difference to the entire Arts District,” Burnett said.

“I made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Having them here will be a financial boost to every business in the Arts District. People will come up here (from the ferry) and stay and maybe even have something to eat downtown.”

Museum board member Les Lewis was measuring space at the new location on Tuesday and said the central location was the best of three sites looked at downtown by the museum.

“It takes very little to change,” Lewis said. “It’s heated and lighted. Of all the places we looked at, this is the most ready to move into.”

The museum’s current location on Washington Avenue is being demolished later this summer to make way for the proposed conference center/hotel complex being planned by the city, Public Facilities District and developers OPUS Northwest.

Lewis said the temporary location for the museum will be in place until the Navy and city complete planning, design and construction of the Navy Maritime Park and security buffer along First Street and Pacific Avenue.

The museum cannot be moved until the Navy moves the historic Building 50 from inside the Shipyard to a location near the Bremerton Transportation Center. That building will hold the museum.

Lewis said the museum hopes to have several ship models and displays in their new Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue location prior to the Armed Forces Day festival in downtown Bremerton the third weekend in May.

Another museum board member, Kira Khadem, is already plotting the huge move of artifacts.

“We’re starting the move the end of May and hope to be in by the end of June,” Khadem said. “We’ll be on the main floor mostly ... the rest will be stored downstairs.”

Khadem said the museum currently operates with 6,000 square feet in the Enetai Building on Washington Avenue.

They’ll gain space at the new location, according to Burnett.

The two-year lease offers 1,200 square feet in offices and restrooms upstairs, 3,000 square feet on the main floor and 3,500 square feet of basement storage space.

Lewis said the museum and city will probably hire a professional mover to accomplish the gargantuan move.

“We just want to make sure the move is done right,” said Kathleen McCluskey, Bremerton’s admin services director.

“The location is perfect,” she said. “We think it fits perfect for the Arts District. It works well for the First Friday Arts Walk as well. Amy is giving us a good price. She is supportive of the synergy that exists between the arts and museum.”

According to Lewis, museum volunteer George Holden has a Computer Assisted Design (CAD) program to help the move. Holden will load the square footage available and a list of museum items and the CAD program will print out a proposed layout.

According to Khadem, one thing might be rejected by the computer.

“But we have a problem. Some of our displays are so large, it may be hard to find space at Amy’s ... especially the glassed-in scale model of the USS Hancock,” Khadem said.

The huge plastic aircraft carrier model has outside measurements of 7 foot, 3 inches by 4 foot, 8 inches and is nearly 22 feet long.

“We need donated space in bank lobbies or the lobbies of businesses around town for this model — until we can get into our permanent home.”

Call Charlene Zettl at 479-7447 for info.

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