Carnegie Museum

Olympic Discovery Trail

Native American History

Front view of the Carnegie Museum in Port Angeles.

Situated in the heart of downtown Port Angeles in the old Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Museum is home to exhibits and artifacts from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Formerly housed just minutes away at the Elwha Klallam Heritage Center, the exhibits of historical artifacts were moved to the Carnegie Museum as the Heritage Center transitions into a training center for the tribal community.

The cixwícen (Tse-whit-zen) exhibit details the accidental discovery of the ancient tribal village by the Washington State Department of Transportation in the early 2000s. After drilling 15–30 feet down while attempting to build a dry dock to repair the Hood Canal Bridge, workers found artifacts such as bones, hooks and anchor weights. This continued for several years until archaeologists deemed there were too many historical artifacts, forcing the government to abandon the project.

The second exhibit, “Elwha: A River Reborn,” was originally created by and on display at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle before finding a home at the Carnegie Museum. [1] The exhibit portrays the decades-long battle to demolish the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, which were illegally erected without salmon ladders, preventing salmon from swimming up a 70-mile stretch of the Elwha River. The lack of natural resources, flooding caused by the dams, and pressure from the government and other companies eventually pushed the Elwha tribe out of their historical village sites. [2] In 2011, 101 years after the construction of the dams began, the National Park Service contracted a demolition company to start removing them; the project was completed in 2014. In total, the restoration of the Elwha River cost $325 million and was the largest dam removal project in the world. [3]



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