Ancient Shores, Changing Tides

ANCIENT SHORES, CHANGING TIDES is an initiative led by the Burke Museum to connect heritage advocates in Washington State with Palawan Island, Philippines.

Suquamish, in Washington, United States and El Nido, Palawan, in the Philippines are two communities separated by thousands of miles of open ocean and are nearly opposites in terms of climate.  Temperate Suquamish, Washington is dominated by cedar trees, while tropical El Nido, Palawan, Philippines is lined with coconut palms. And, yet, they face many of the same concerns regarding the management of their natural and cultural resources.

 In both communities, the primary source of income has been shifting away from collecting the area’s natural resources and toward tourism. By facilitating this project, the Burke Museum will be encouraging stewardship of both areas’ fragile natural and cultural resources.

Through the “Ancient Shores, Changing Tides” project, the Burke Museum is connecting these two distant communities that share a common interest in preserving their natural and archaeological heritage, and revitalizing cultural practices.

Project Goals

The “Ancient Shores, Changing Tides” project draws on the Burke’s long history of cultural collaborations with indigenous communities of the Pacific region. It falls within  our ongoing mission to engage with our communities and create a better understanding of the world and our place within it.

 Specifically, the goals of this collaboration are for each community to:

  • Gain a firsthand knowledge of a different culture
  • Develop a deeper understanding of their own archaeological past and cultural heritage
  • Be able to steer tourism development in a sustainable, community-focused direction

 Project Highlights

Residents of Suquamish and El Nido will connect with each other in a variety of ways, including:

  • travel between Suquamish and El Nido
  • “exchange boxes” – packages about each community sent back and forth
  • video conference calls
  • blogging and social media
  • series of workshops where participants will investigate and document how ways of life and practices have evolved over time.
  • working together to create exhibits featuring the community’s archaeological past

Five members of each community will visit the other country. The Filipino delegation is scheduled to arrive in Seattle in late October 2013, with the Suquamish set to travel to the Philippines in January 2014. Participants in both El Nido and Suquamish are busy planning the fishing trips and seafood feasts that will take place when the communities visit each other.

During this travel, the museums will coordinate a series of workshops where participants will investigate and document how ways of life and practices have evolved over time, with a focus on practices related to fishing, gathering and herbal medicine.

Each community will work together to create an exhibit that will enhance the community’s tourist appeal. In Suquamish, that exhibit will be located in the Old Man House Park, on the shore of Puget Sound. Lying at the center of the Suquamish winter village on Agate Pass, just south of the present-day town of Suquamish, the Old Man House was home to Chief Sealth (Chief Seattle) and Chief Kitsap.

Project Funding

Ancient Shores, Changing Tides is a Museums Connect project. Museums Connect is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums.


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