Seeing red

Old American Red Cross posters, pins, patches and scrapbooks typically fill the glass cases inside the Red Cross West Sound Service Center on Pacific Avenue in Bremerton.

Starting next week, the collectibles will move to the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum on Fourth Street for a few months.

The exhibit, titled “Red Cross Ready: A Community Response,” opens Friday, May 1 on the mezzanine at the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum.

American Red Cross West Sound Service Center Area Director Janet Heath said the Red Cross has never shown an exhibit at the Historical Society Museum, but when the society staff asked, they decided their collection would look good showcased on the mezzanine.

“Ordinarily, it’s exhibited in three display cases in our office,” Heath said.

The Red Cross exhibit will be set up at the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum until July, but Heath said it could be open to the public at the museum for quite some time.

“If all goes well, it might stay longer,” Heath said.

She said most of the Red Cross collection belonged to longtime Red Cross volunteers Mike and Ann Riley. Mike collected the Red Cross memorabilia at his home for years, but donated the collection to the Red Cross in 2007, where it was put on display in the building’s front lobby.

Mike died in February 2008 and Heath said she thinks he would have liked for the Red Cross collection to be showcased at the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum.

“We thought it was exactly what Mike would have wanted to showcase our things in a larger exhibit,” she added.

Some of the Red Cross pins date back to the early 1900s and various posters, signs and even a sewing machine will be on display.

Nina Hallett, with the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum, is busy setting up the exhibit for its May 1 opening and said May 8 is World Red Cross Day, so the exhibit seemed like a great idea to showcase the organization.

“May is Armed Forces Month and the exhibit is scheduled to be a kickoff to Armed Forces Month,” Heath said.

American Red Cross Volunteer and Health Services Specialist Kelly Finch will speak about the exhibit at 6 p.m. Friday, May 1 on the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum mezzanine.

“I think it’s going to be great,” he said. “It’s really, really cool.”

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