50 Years of History Told By The Yakima Valley Museum - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

50 Years of History Told By The Yakima Valley Museum

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YAKIMA, Wash. - This year KNDO-TV is preparing for a landmark celebration, 50 years in Yakima, in that time the Yakima Valley Museum has been there as well telling the story of the valley all these years. 

Inside the museum's neon garden, 4th grade students watched an interactive performance Wednesday to learn about their community and the "Wonders of Light."

Teachers bring students from across the valley to see these performances.  Martha Fleming is with Tieton Intermediate School, she says it is an essential tool for them.

"As an educator, this is an extension of the classroom and it makes history come alive for the child," she said.  "It's invaluable."

The program students watched on Wednesday is just one example of how the museum serves as the primary source for the area's history and the place to see it.

Since KNDO has been on the air, the museum has always been at the site it stands on today.  Founded in 1951, it's been at 2105 Tieton Dr. since 1957.  Through the years, it's seen changes on the outside and the inside. 

John Baule is the museum's director.  He says in the beginning, the place was serving a community that knew their story.

"You had an awful lot of people who lived in this valley who had some long roots here," he said.  "So they kind of knew the history of this valley."

Unlike many museums in other communities, the Yakima Valley Museum houses a local collection of both the arts and natural history.  Another unique aspect of the museum, it is a private not-for-profit and depends primarily on donations. 

"This community is amazingly supportive of itself," Baule said.  "There are people who really believe in making amenities available."