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 45 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, who served for four years. Nira Maggetti came on board in 2022 and helped us welcome the public back, after renovations and shelter-in-place orders. Deb Silva stepped into the role in mid-2023, and is excited for the possibilities that the future holds for the reopened museum. Dozens of volunteers used the "covid era" to reorganize and upgrade the Ann Roberts Research Room, assemble new exhibits, review files, and plan new projects. With a current membership of over 750 (in a region with a total zip-code population of less than 2,500), we have become one of the most vital small museums in the nation.

Who We Are

Our officers
Photo of Nadene Bass
Nadene Bass
Photo, Pete Bansen, vice-president, Ferndale Museum
Pete Bansen
Vice President
Photo of Juanita Petersen
Juanita Petersen
Our staff
Deb Silva                                 Director
Deb Silva
Brian Christensen, Editor, Our Story
Brian Christensen
Editor, Our Story & Volunteer News
Catherine McIntosh, Research Associate
Catherine McIntosh
Research Associate
Sally Hartley Voorhees, Research Associate
Sally Hartley Voorhees
Research Associate
Our board members
Mary Ellen Boynton
Mary Ellen Boynton
Board member Diane Renner
Diane Renner
Photo of Lynette Matyshock
Lynette Matyshock
David Carr
David Carr
Tim Grinsell
Tim Grinsell
Lisa Ponci Hindley
Lisa Ponci Hindley