Explore Bainbridge Island history as you cruise around the island on the Virginia V – Sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum

Bainbridge Island Historical Museum logoThe Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM) invites you to join them aboard the beautifully restored steam-powered ferry Virginia V, the last of the “Mosquito Fleet” boats. The tour departs from the City Dock at Waterfront Park at 1pm on Sunday, July 10th. Tickets include a light snack and a no-host bar. Museum Staff and Board Members will be on hand to guide you through the detailed program pamphlet and correlating map, describing much of the island’s history while you enjoy our scenic coastline.

When: Sunday, July 10, 2022
Where: City Dock at Waterfront Park
Time: 1 – 5pm
Buy tickets here

Wooden boat Virginia V by Torkomian Photography courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Historical MuseumThe Virginia V is the last surviving wooden-hull, steam-powered passenger vessel on the West Coast, and the last of the Puget Sound’s famed “Mosquito Fleet” steamers*. The ship is history in itself, having been in service from 1922 to 1938, she is still equipped with her original engine and most of her original features, including the 1898 triple expansion reciprocating steam engine. The engine was built by Heffernan Iron Works of Seattle, and was originally fitted into her predecessor, Virginia IV. The Virginia V was the last of a line of working steamers bearing the name “Virginia” and was owned and operated by West Past Transportation Company.

She sailed between Tacoma and Seattle for several years, however, with the increased use of automobiles, trucks and car ferries, service ceased in 1938. She then went into service for charters and excursions. Since 1980 she has been operated by the Steamer Virginia V Foundation, a non-profit corporation. The United States Secretary of the Interior designated Virginia V a National Historic Landmark on September 5, 1992.

Virginia V - photograph by Margaret Millmore“MOSQUITO FLEET: Early settlers of Bainbridge Island and Puget Sound communities soon found that the easiest and most effective way to travel from one place to another was by boat. This need led to small steamers that buzzed around the sound and came to be known as the ‘Mosquito Fleet’. Bainbridge Island had over 30 landings scattered along the shore. Some were makeshift docks only approachable at high tide, and others were substantial structures that could handle freight and an ever-growing number of passengers. Small communities formed around the landings and many included a store, post office and one-room schoolhouse.” – bainbridgecurrents.com

This cruise is a fundraising event for the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (which sold out in 2019, the last time it was held) and your support allows BIHM to continue preserving and sharing stories of Bainbridge as well as promoting understanding of our community and the world we live in.

The museum also partners with organizations on the island such as the BI Public Library, the BI Senior and Community Center, the BI Museum of Art, and Bainbridge Performing Arts to offer several other free and/or inexpensive events every month. See below for a look at some of the events/actions that BIHM and its partners have coming up:

Teach Truth Day of Action – June 12thThe Bainbridge Island Multicultural Advisory Council and the Kitsap ERACE Coalition invite educators, students, parents, and community members to gather at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum on Sunday, June 12th, at 1:00pm. This year marks the second annual pledge from educators to teach truth as part of a national effort. Learn more about this action, here.

Inaugural Bainbridge Juneteenth Community Celebration – June 19thJoin the community to celebrate and honor the meaning at the history of Juneteenth! Bring the whole family out to the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center from 1:00-3:00pm on Sunday, June 19. Enjoy local speakers, music, and an art exhibit! Order West African food from Aunt Dolly’s or bring your own picnic. Cold treats will be provided.

Save the Date for Pickleball! The Annual Founders Pickleball Tournament is coming! Presented by the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, and is happening August 8th-14th! Want to play? Registration is open now. Check out the schedule below:

August 8-9th – RISE Pickleball camps. Register here.
August 10th – Wooden Paddle Tournament & Seniors
Play pickleball like it was originally played. Participants get a limited edition wooden paddle!
August 11th – Seniors tournament
August 12th – Women’s doubles tournament
August 13th – Mixed Doubles tournament
August 14th – Men’s doubles tournament
More information is available at the official website of the Founders Tournament, here.

These fundraisers allow the museum to remain free to all visitors, and to keep costs down for additional events they sponsor.

The museum also houses an extensive research library and climate-controlled curatorial collections room, which are both available to the general public and house a treasure-trove of historical records, maps, memorabilia, archaeological materials, oral and written histories, newspapers, and more.

To keep up to date with all the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum has to offer, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or become a member and receive monthly newsletters on upcoming events.

If you’d like to read more about the museum, please click here to read our September 2018 blog article.

Images used with permission from the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum

*Reference: virginiav.org

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