Submitted by Whatcom Museum
A new reference collection of more than 500 titles focusing on art and regional history is now accessible to community members and Whatcom County researchers, thanks to a partnership between the Whatcom Museum and the Bellingham Public Library, and generous donations to the Museum. The Joyce Morse Reference Library is open by appointment on Wednesdays, noon to 3:00 p.m. and Thursdays, noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street. Visitors can call 360-778-8938 to make an appointment.
The collection, which can be searched online through the Bellingham Public Library’s Special Collections catalog, includes general art references and art history books, with a focus on regional art and history Whatcom County history, and art and history of Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Catalogues and other publications of the Whatcom Museum are also available. The books will not circulate, but they are available to view in the Reference Library at the Lightcatcher by appointment.
“We are thrilled to provide the community with the resources to learn more about our regional history and art, and to further our commitment to stimulating curiosity about these topics,” said Executive Director Patricia Leach. “The library fits in perfectly with some of our other research tools, such as the photo archives.”
Although many of the books in the library are part of the museum’s collection, the new library attracted the attention of donors. Seattle residents Lee and Joie Soper were instrumental in providing many books for the library. With the help of Village Books owner Chuck Robinson and retired director of the University of Washington Press Pat Soden, Lee Soper, whose career included many years with the University Bookstore, donated a substantial collection of books on art, art history, decorative arts, regional art and artists, and photography. Many other donors contributed to the library as well.
The name of the library is also an important community contribution, as it is named after the late Joyce Morse, who together with her husband David, was a Cornerstone member of the Whatcom Museum. For 20 years, Joyce was responsible for organizing the volunteers at the museum’s store. She was also involved in the fundraising effort to help restore the Old City Hall building from fire damage and co-chaired the group that raised the money to start the museum endowment to support artistic and educational programs. She was a longtime member of the Whatcom Museum’s volunteer group now known as the Advocates.
“My parents were great supporters of the museum,” said Bob Morse, Joyce’s eldest son. “This honor would have made my dad especially happy; he was eager that my mother receive recognition for the many ways she enriched and supported this community.”
For a full list of titles, visit www.whatcommuseum.org and under the menu item “Research,” choose the Joyce Morse Reference Library. To browse the online catalog, visit www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org and go to “Special Collections” and then choose the Joyce Morse Reference Library (http://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org/yourlibrary/specialcollections/JoyceMorseReferenceLibrary.aspx). The Joyce Morse Reference Library is open by appointment on Wednesdays, noon-3pm and Thursdays, noon-3pm at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building, 250 Flora Street. To schedule an appointment call 360-778-8938.