Makah Cultural & Research Center celebrates 45th anniversary with festivities focused on art, food, and family-friendly fun

The Makah Cultural and Research Center (MCRC) is proud to announce its 45th year since opening its doors in 1979. In marking the anniversary, the MCRC will host its annual festivities on June 29th, 2024, from 10 AM to 4 PM. The event will showcase the thriving Makah arts community, provide an opportunity for those attending to hear traditional Makah storytelling, and will feature an array of locally made food from a range of vendors.

The MCRC will host 30 vendors on the museum grounds, the majority of whom are Makah artists. These vendors will offer a range of unique handmade items including wood carvings, beaded jewelry featuring indigenous shells, drums made of rawhide, Makah art forms printed on paper, and beautiful basketry and other innovative items woven in the traditions of the Makah people. All proceeds from purchases go directly to the sellers. Bringing cash is suggested, but vendors may offer a combination of electronic methods for payment.

The event features a variety of rich flavors in accordance with the traditions and diversity of the Makah community. Fresh caught salmon roasted next to an open fire on upright sticks in the traditional Makah way and served with sides will be available thanks to Ocean Thunder, a Makah community canoe racing club. Flavorful Mexican cuisine, Indian tacos, and chowder made with local clams, and other delicious options will be available. A local ice cream truck and an array of other homemade desserts will provide a touch of sweetness to the festive atmosphere. The celebration is extremely family friendly; there will be a bouncy house, and a community organization will offer activities for children.

The MCRC chooses one individual each year to showcase as a featured artist. This year the MCRC will recognize the life’s work of renowned weaver Theresa Parker. Theresa is a lifelong resident of Neah Bay, and is proud of her Makah and Lummi heritage. She comes from a long line of cedar bark weavers and stated, “I am a basket weaver, this is my first love-weaving”. Her love for weaving is evident in her lifelong commitment to learning about weaving. She is known for her range of traditional styles of weaving as much as for her innovative and playful pieces; she is as skilled in ancient techniques and styles as she is for pushing the bounds and creating items such as travel mug covers and sun visors. Theresa is a founding member of the Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association and has traveled extensively to be featured in events as an artist and representative of the MCRC. She has participated in events hosted by the Smithsonian, has traveled around the globe as an artist and representative of the MCRC, and is a dedicated educator. The MCRC is honored to have employed Theresa as the Education Department Coordinator since 1992 and to celebrate her retirement this year in tandem with her mastery of cedar weaving.

Theresa plans to continue in her dedication to teaching weaving within her community, and to promote wellness and economic stability amongst Makah tribal members through their engagement with cultural arts.

Traditional Makah storyteller, Steve Jimmicum, will unfold tales of trickery, heroism, and tell of mutual characteristics in humans and animals of the Makah world during the 45th annual event. The MCRC director, Janine Ledford, adds that, “Storytelling and oral tradition forms the foundation of traditional Makah values and morals, and offers visitors a glimpse into Makah history and traditions”. Janine expands further on the importance of oral history as a traditional Makah art form stating, “When we share our stories, we are expressing in words how our legends come to life; you can see figures here in designs on objects in the Ozette collection on exhibit at the museum, and woven on historical basketry or in modern Makah paintings-but it is really the words of the people that bring this rich history to the forefront.” She reinforces that in offering storytelling the MCRC is reinforcing oral tradition as an integral medium alongside cedar bark weaving, wood carving, and the many other forms of traditional Makah artistry.

For the 3rd year, the MCRC will highlight Makah artists and local creatives at the anniversary event to express its mission to showcase art, the creative process, and Makah cultural practices which are maintained in the present day. In all of its 45 years of existence, the institution has continued in its role as the repository for Makah material culture. The exhibits on permanent display feature artifacts excavated at the southernmost village of Ozette on Makah lands. The MCRC is also the homebase for the Makah language program, which endeavors to strengthen Makah language proficiency within the community. For more information, please visit