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Historic Port Townsend museums open for the season Monday … |

Historic Port Townsend museums open for the season Monday …

PORT TOWNSEND — Two historic house museums — the Rothschild House and Commanding Officer’s Quarters in Port Townsend and at Fort Worden State Park — will open for the summer season Monday.

The Rothschild House Museum on the corner of Franklin and Taylor streets was built in 1868 and is furnished with the original contents that were owned by the Rothschild family. It will be open daily from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The Commanding Officer’s Quarters will be open daily from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission to either location is $6, and a pass for both is $8. Admission is free for Jefferson County Historical Society members.

The Commanding Officer’s Quarters (COQ) Museum at Fort Worden spent the winter under wraps. The exterior of the COQ was renovated and painted and was wrapped in white plastic to contain the lead paint that was removed from the building.

The COQ was home to more than 25 commanding officers and their families from 1904, when it was built, until 1953, and is located at the end of Officers’ Row. It was restored in the late 1970s and opened as a museum in 1982.

The COQ is normally closed from October through April, but in September of last year, all of the antique furnishings in the house had to be carefully packed away to protect them during the renovation.

Washington State Parks collections curator Alicia Woods photographed the placement of the items in every room on three floors in the COQ and then carefully packed them in boxes. Large pieces of furniture were covered and moved away from the windows.

The COQ usually gets a good spring cleaning before being opened for the season, but this year required a lot more work, historical society members said.

All the boxes were unpacked by Jefferson County Historical Society volunteers and staff and park maintenance employees who put the hundreds of items back into their proper places.

All curtains were removed, washed and rehung.

The dining room table was reset with its beautiful crystal and silver, the china cabinet was filled with dinnerware and pictures were rehung.

D.C.H. Rothschild settled in Port Townsend in 1858 and began a business under the name of “Kentucky Store.” It was soon changed to the Rothschild and Co. Mercantile, selling varied merchandise.

In 1868, Rothschild had his family home built where it now stands.

Occupied only by the Rothschild family, the last surviving member, Eugene, donated the house to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. It opened to the public as a historic site in 1962 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Both houses are managed by the Jefferson County Historical Society and owned by Washington State Parks.

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