Over the past decades, a combination of ingenuity, determination and hard work has built a unique and special community museum, the Ferndale Museum. Today, we celebrate over 40 years of gathering, interpreting, preserving, and sharing the story of Ferndale and the Eel River Valley, a process that has enhanced our sense of community and challenged us to embrace the past to enrich the present.
Our 750-plus members welcome new members; our 200-plus active volunteers welcome new volunteers. We are a diverse, inclusive, creative organization that continually seeks new ways to tell our story—and, perhaps most important—to listen to the story that informs us all.
The Ferndale Museum
The Ferndale Museum, a 501-c-3 charitable nonprofit organization, was officially founded on September 22, 1979. Over the prior two years, dozens of volunteers had worked to renovate the storage shed for the Humboldt County Road Department heavy equipment, a building that was sold to the City of Ferndale for one dollar and turned over to the community group eager to transform it into a museum.
Jerry Lesandro was hired as the first director, a position he held for 32 years. In 2010, Jerry retired and was succeeded by Don Andersen. Don’s successor, in 2017, was fellow Humboldt State alumnus, Lynn Lourenco. Hundreds of community volunteers have served as docents, board members, carpenters, fundraisers, movie makers, interviewers, researchers, gardeners, bakers, and cataloguers for over four decades. With a current membership of 750 (in a region with a total population of less than 2,500), we have become one of the most vital small museums in the nation.