Kent Historical Society & Museum to reopen


Aaron Cousin

The Kent Historical Society & Museum features a recreation of an old-fashioned children’s room.

Aaron Cousin, Reporter

The Kent Historical Society and Museum will reopen to the public Friday after closing for the winter.

The museum preserves artifacts from the city of Kent. Historical objects ranging from Freemason ceremonial swords and a barber shop chair, to 18th century needlework and a hammer that smashed open a store front window on the weekend leading up to May 4, 1970, will be on display for the public.

Administrative Assistant Bengt George said the museum takes artifact donations allowing it to receive important historic items in Kent’s history.

“There’s plenty of people that have lived in Kent their entire lives that have a personal interest in local history,” he said. “They collect things, and they’ll come across something and bring it to us.”

The museum loves having artifacts with a storied history behind them, George said.

“People have an interest in giving us all kinds of things, like everything you can imagine,” George said. “The more detail and background someone has, the better. We love it when someone brings something, and they have background information.”

The historical society has existed for over fifty years. Director Julie Kenworthy said it was created after people prevented a train station downtown from being demolished.

“It started in 1971,” Kenworthy said. “The depot was going to be torn down. It had sat abandoned there. It was in really bad shape. So a group of citizens came together and formed the historical society to save it.”

The Kent Historical Society & Museum recreates a scene of a vintage barber shop chair set up in an old-fashioned barber shop. (Aaron Cousin)

After the train station was saved, it was turned into a restaurant: PufferBelly.

The museum moved locations several times before settling in Harriet Kent’s home. Harriet Kent is the sister of Marvin Kent, the man the city is named after.

Preparation to reopen the museum includes new editions.

“Julie and I and volunteers,” George said. “We still work, and right now we’re trying to wrap up. We’re relocating some furniture, moving a display case and starting to put a new exhibit together.”

History is important to appreciate the community, Kenworthy said.

“I think when you learn the history of your community, I feel like you care about it more,” Kenworthy said. “We’re fortunate that our town does care about historic preservation. I think it’s very important. History matters.”

Kent Historical Society & Museum is located at 237 E Main St. Its hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Aaron Cousin is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].