Founded in 1958, Anacortes History Museum exists to preserve and interpret the history of Fidalgo and Guemes islands through exhibitions, researches, and public programs. The museum is a department of the City of Anacortes, Washington.
The Carnegie Gallery, which was originally designed as a Carnegie Library and built between 1909 and 1911, became the home of the Anacortes History Museum in 1968. In 1977, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1983, following a successful bid, the City acquired the National Historic Landmark, the W.T. Preston, as part of the Anacortes Museum. The W.T. Preston was the last sternwheeler to work in Puget Sound and is one of only two snagboats remaining in the contiguous United States. The boat was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The Carnegie Gallery is situated on two floors. The first floor was once used as a social and musical center but presently is home to the museum’s offices, research library, and archives.
The second floor is comprised of the exhibit gallery, with permanent displays on Native Americans and early settlers, the fishing and logging industries, and a special traveling exhibit every two years.
The Research Library within the Anacortes History Museum has approximately 600 books, magazines, and journals. It also includes newspapers, brochures, clippings, and other published and non-published sources of information on the cultural and natural history of Fidalgo and Guemes islands.
The aim of the Research Library is to aid scholars and the general public who are interested in the study of the islands
Membership benefits of the Anacortes History Museum include free admission to the Snagboat Heritage Center, which was opened in April 2005 to interpret the history of the W.T. Preston and the two boats that preceded it.