The Avalon Project


Salmon, Seiners and Life on the Sound


The Exhibit – Developed for the Gig Harbor BoatShop in partnership with the Skansie Net Shed and Harbor History Museum, this exhibit begins with the story of the Avalon, an iconic fishing boat built in Gig Harbor in 1929, and expands to include boat documentation, the fishing life, and present-day sustainable fisheries.

With fishing at the center of Puget Sound life and livelihood, the era of commercial fishing stretches from the early 1900s to present-day. While the season is short in the Sound, most Puget Sound fleets travel north to Alaska during the summer salmon runs and south to California for sardines. Yet as fish habitats are destroyed by logging, mining, and pollution, the salmon economy is severely impacted. The exhibit addresses the circular relationship between habitat, spawning grounds, and the catch, helping visitors understand the process of sea to table.

The Avalon – The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Avalon wheelhouse (below), removed from the boat before its deconstruction in 2015 and currently under painstaking restoration at the BoatShop. Several Avalon artifacts will travel with the exhibit, including the exhaust stack, cowl, cleats, stern bearing, and propeller. Visitors will learn how boats were made, nets were hauled, and the challenges fishermen face while at sea.

The Avalon was originally built by the Skansie Boatbuilding Company and was one of a number of purse seiners built in Gig Harbor. Its sister seiner, Shenandoah, is currently under full restoration at the Harbor History Museum, and the net shed where the Avalon was moored for nearly six decades is now an historic site. Both of these fantastic organizations have partnered with the Gig Harbor BoatShop to create this important and intriguing traveling exhibition.

Exhibit Specifics

Contact – Stephanie Lile at the Harbor History Museum, or 253.858.6722.

Size – The Avalon Project will be adaptable for 1,000 – 2,000 square-foot galleries that have the floor infrastructure to hold individual objects from 20-400 pounds with a minimum height of 9 feet.

Rental Fee – Three month bookings are available for $20,000, with shipping and installation staff travel billed separately. Bookings are made through Harbor History Museum and each rental includes 2 days of installation service by 2 staff, and a full package of curriculum, marketing, and staff/volunteer training.

Dates Available – The Avalon Project will open at the Harbor History Museum in May 2018 and be available to travel starting September 2018.

May – September 2018: Opening Venue, Harbor History Museum, Gig Harbor, Washington

October – December, 2018: Book now for early bird discount

January – April, 2019: Book now for early bird discount

May – July, 2019: Book now for early bird discount

August – October 2019: Available

November, 2019 – January 2020: Available