I have lived in Bellingham and driven past this location for that last seven years but never gone in. My mother was in town and wanted to see “the Dutch town.” I tried to dissuade her. Lynden is nice, but not a destination in and of itself. We go there for the Million Smiles playground and the fair...
We walked the length of Front street from west to east to Hannegan/1st street. I was just saying we should cross the street and walk back because we had seen it all when we noted the museum. It looks like there isn't much more than a store front... Boy was I mistaken.
Inside is a large building that houses a remarkable collection. The front is occupied exhibits on area dairy, poultry and egg industries. Next we saw exhibits on early settlers and Indian cultures. In the basement they have an extensive collection of wagons, antique cars (including the 1st mass produced GM electric car), and farm implements. Then they have exhibits of memorabilia brought home by local soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korean war and Vietnam. I didn't see anything from from more recent conflicts- desert storm and shield- Iraq or enduring freedom- Afghanistan, I'm sure its just a question of time and space. The finale as they guide you is the passage from a 1950s Soda Fountain out onto an early century main street reconstruction that allows you to look into period shops, pharmacy, dentist, doctors offices and even to see the “upstairs” areas from the merchant shops.
The exhibits are comparable to those I have seen in the Smithsonian and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibits are comparable to major museums but without the extensive museum curating which made it that much more approachable to me. 90 minutes was enough for a quick run through for two adults who like to stop, look and read. Kids might last that long as there is room to run around on main street. I will go back and I will recommend this to visitors with an interest in history, families with older kids when weather is lousy, and for school field trips.
Well done Lynden!