News

Fouts retiring from Timber Museum

By Zorina Barker, Forum Correspondent

 

After 22 years, Sherrill Fouts is retiring from the Forks Timber Museum; however she is not leaving the museum altogether because, as she explains, “I’m the only one who knows where I put stuff.”

 

That is one of the drawbacks to being a mainstay at a small museum.

 

So, come Halloween she will be honored by an open house at the museum with cake and beverages for the public to come say farewell, but not really goodbye.

 

Linda Offutt will be filling her place as the staple at the timber museum.

 

“Sherrill is a great source of history and local lore,” Offutt said.

 

As Sherrill walks through the museum, her storytelling gift becomes apparent.

 

Each question brings an explanation drawing on years of living in the area and sinking deep roots into the culture and community that is so uniquely Forks. Stand back though, because she cannot talk without moving her hands.

 

In speaking of changes she’s seen, Sherrill said, “People are losing connection with how things really are; knowing that what you plant is going to feed you and what you hunt is going to feed you.”

 

She related a recent episode involving a couple who visited the museum but didn’t quite understand the essential part hunting played for the early settlers; why they didn’t just go to the store and buy meat?

 

Educating visitors on concepts that have been mistaken is a source of enjoyment for Sherrill.

 

One of her favorites is sharing an extensive list of products that come from trees; such as medications, foods and household items, etc.

 

“Antagonism is less than when I first started. People would come yell at us. Over the years, the public has become better listeners. I have had much better questions in the last three years,” she said.

 

The time has come, though, for her to pursue other hobbies and interests.

 

She is planning on doing some quilting and quite possibly getting more involved in civic affairs.

 

Museums are in her blood and she’ll probably never completely quit the Timber Museum; after all, her mom is still active with the Clallam County Historical Society – and she’s 93.


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