Sequim Museum and Arts Center

“Sequim sat on a wide expanse of prairie between the snowcapped Olympic Mountains to the south and the broad, blue Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north. Vancouver Island was just visible on the horizon. Nestled in the lee of the mountains, sheltered from the storms that rotated in off the Pacific from the southwest, the area was far less rainy than most of western Washington, and the skies were blue more often than gray. The weather was so dry, in fact, that early settlers had found cacti growing in places. It was the kind of town where people got together on weekends to build a new church, to hold Sunday-afternoon ice cream socials, or to kick up their heels at Saturday-night square dances. In Sequim your butcher might also be the volunteer firefighter who saved your house or barn, as well as the neighbor who helped you rebuild it.”  Page i95

In Real Life:

In The Boys in the Boat:

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University of Washington rowing champion Joe Rantz, second from left, spent much of his youth in Sequim, where a new exhibit, “The Boys in the Boat,” is open at the Museum & Arts Center. The Husky oarsmen were, from left, Don Hume, Rantz, George Hunt, Jim McMillan, John White, Gordon Adam, Charles Day, Roger Morris and Bob Mock.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — The new “Boys in the Boat” exhibit at the Museum & Arts Center features a 42-foot cedar racing shell made by fabled boat-builder George Pocock, a vessel that’s “so dang gorgeous to look at,” organizer Judy Stipe said this week.

The exhibit, a celebration of the late rower and Olympic gold medalist Joe Rantz, will have a “soft opening,” Stipe said, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the MAC, 175 W. Cedar St. Admission to the preview is free.

Rantz, who spent much of his youth in Sequim, went on to row with the University of Washington team, which took the gold at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

His story is told in Daniel James Brown’s book The Boys in the Boat, which spent months atop the best-seller lists.

Stipe and her crew of volunteers have been planning the MAC exhibit with the help of Rantz’s daughter Judy Willman, who lives near Seattle, and John Halberg of the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association.

The association bought the Pocock racing shell a few years ago and, Halberg said, decided to lend it to the MAC.

‘Classic wooden boat’

“It’s a classic wooden boat,” Halberg said of the four-person shell, which came from the hands of the world-renowned builder.

The UW rowing team won a national championship in a Pocock boat in 1923, beginning an era that lasted 50 years.

Pocock constructed racing shells for college teams across the United States and abroad, striving to maintain supreme quality at a price even small schools could afford.

Those boats carried their teams to many U.S. and Olympic wins.

Saved memorabilia

Willman, meanwhile, saved memorabilia from her father’s time as a rower and a student at UW, and helped Brown write his book.

“She has been so generous” with her contributions to the MAC exhibit, Stipe said.

Also at the museum: Rantz’s UW student identification card, enlarged to poster size; numerous pictures from the Sequim of his boyhood; and mementos from his travels to the Olympics.

The “Boys in the Boat” exhibit will be cause for celebration again next month, Stipe added.

A grand opening party with refreshments and special guests will take place at the museum from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Feb. 6 during Sequim’s First Friday Art Walk, a free event showcasing various art galleries and shops downtown.

Once it’s properly feted, the show will stay on display through the end of the year at the MAC.

The museum’s winter hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and visitors can find more information at 360-683-8110 and


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or

Last modified: January 15. 2015 7:36PM


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