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Lynden Heritage Museum ‘bridges the gap’

Formerly known as Lynden Pioneer Museum, new name meant to reflect continuing history of city, its people


LYNDEN — The Lynden Pioneer Museum is now the Lynden Heritage Museum.


As director, Amanda May said that it’s been about a year since staff and board members began discussing a possible name change of the museum which was founded in 1976. To do that, however, museum leadership sought input from outside the organization.


“When people don’t have experience with something, they find someone with experience,” said May, the museum’s director since 2022. “So we met with people in the historical community. These people, they recommended one commonality. They encouraged us to remove Pioneer from the museum’s name.”


May explained that Pioneer was an “era-defining word.”


“They have found that by pigeonholing yourselves with an era it keeps people from revisiting,” she said. “They assume they’ve seen all you have. So, that was the basis of our decision.”


In replacing the word pioneer with heritage, May explained museum leadership “(felt) strongly this is the right decision.”


“When people talk about their roots, they talk about their heritage,” May said. “The new name bridges the gap of what we want to accomplish and what people see in their own history.”


May also explained that when the museum formed in 1976, the original founders, volunteers and board members “came up with the museum name and the foundation’s name, the Lynden Heritage Foundation.


“Heritage in our name really isn’t anything new,” May said. “We’ve taken one of their original ideas and moving it to the forefront.”


Fred Polinder, president of the museum’s board of directors, said he thought the word heritage “is more oriented to the Lynden area.”


“Some people may see the old signs, think log cabins and Phoebe Judson,” Polinder said. “We want to be more than that.”


In 2026, the museum will celebrate 50 years. With decisions like the new name, May said the museum looks forward to its next 50 years.


‘That’s what we ask ourselves,” May said. “The name change allows us to incorporate the past as we continue into the future.”


With February’s vote by the museum’s board of directors, the name change is official. However, the museum is making plans to unveil the new name with new signage in June with its annual open house, May said.


The new name is already on the museum’s website, lyndenheritagemuseum.org, as well as on the museum’s newsletter, email and marketing. May said feedback on the new name has been positive so far.


“Before it went out, I asked specific people their opinion and they could see the name change would benefit the museum,” May said. “And that’s important.”


Learn more about the Lynden Heritage Museum at lyndenheritagemuseum.org.


-- Contact Bill Helm at bill@lyndentribune.com.

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