Issaquah History Museums

About Us

Issaquah History Museums (IHM) serve more than 20,000 people annually, providing two museums and a range of public programs. Both the Gilman Town Hall Museum and the Issaquah Depot Museum house compelling exhibits that let visitors get a deeper sense of Issaquah’s past, and feature hands-on elements for kids. IHM public programming includes a series of engaging coal-mining and logging walks. Special programs for kids include Hands-On History, where kids drop in for an activity that connects them with Issaquah’s heritage; a guided hike of Issaquah’s historic downtown; and traveling history kits that are circulated by the Issaquah School District. IHM also provides access to our collections catalog and more than 100 years’ worth of the original Issaquah Press back issues. At the core of IHM’s exhibits, programs and website are the 40,000+ photographs and artifacts that make up the community’s collection. Each of these items tells its own story about Issaquah’s past. Museum staff continue to collect items representing Issaquah’s story, and we receive additional materials from dozens of donors annually.

Meet the Staff

Erica Maniez

Erica Maniez

Executive Director

Erica was the first employee hired by the organization. She began her tenure in 1999, a few weeks after earning her Master’s in Museology. She has been chief cook and bottle-washer ever since. Erica’s favorite projects focus on telling stories about Issaquah’s past, something she gets to do on history hikes, speaker’s presentations, and kids’ tours. Erica also has a soft spot for chickens, and for Issaquah’s poultry-farming past. She lives in Seattle with a husband, two cats, one dog, and children Dylan and Conrad.

Julie Hunter

Julie Hunter

Collections Manager

Formerly the Registrar at the Maine State Museum, Julie joined IHM as a volunteer in 2006 and became a staff member in 2007. Julie cares for our artifacts and photographs from the moment they arrive at the museum. In addition to tracking what and where everything is, Julie follows museum best practices to ensure the long-term care of our collection. Julie lives in Newcastle, a former coal town on the other side of Cougar Mountain, with her husband and furry feline, Melon.
Karen Gath

Karen Gath

Volunteer & Programs Manager

Karen joined IHM as a collections volunteer and intern in 2017, before becoming staff in 2019. Karen has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree, with a specialization in Museum Studies, from Kent State University, and has prior experience recruiting and coordinating volunteers from her role as the Theatre Director for Bellevue School District. If you think you might like to volunteer, Karen is the person to call! Karen has two grown children, Katie and James. She lives in Issaquah with her son and her darling puppy Lily.
Kayla Boland

Kayla Boland

Communications Coordinator

Kayla joined IHM in March of 2020, a few months after receiving an MA in Art History from the University of York. Most recently, she curated our virtual exhibit, “‘Poetry in Motion:’ Remembering the Issaquah Skyport.” Kayla creates and posts all of our social media content; builds the Behind The Scenes newsletters; researches and writes blogs; and conducts oral history interviews. She also helps photograph and catalog our collections. Kayla has a heart for local community engagement and a love of storytelling in all its forms. In her spare time, she is a portrait photographer and enjoys reading and hiking. Kayla grew up in the South Sound and now lives in Redmond.

Alex Burt


Alex is a senior at nearby Gibson Ek High School. His first contact with the Museums was completing an oral history internship where he interviewed, cataloged, and transcribed an oral history. Alex moved to Issaquah in 2018. He enjoys niche history, including Issaquah’s mining and lumber industries, and hiking and camping in the surrounding area. He has a small puppy named Soda Pop.

You don’t have to be a board member to contribute time to the Issaquah History Museums. We encourage community members to serve on our committees and task forces. Use the contact form below to get in touch if you’d like to serve on one of the following.


Deaccessions: responsible for decisions concerning de-accessioned objects, and for making sure the IHM is following the Collection Management Policy. Items to be deaccessioned must be approved by the Board.

Executive Committee: composed of the four officers of the Board and a Board member-at-large appointed by the Board. Duties shall be to discuss and make decisions on critical matters occurring between Board meetings, to review the performance of the Museum Director, and to make recommendations to the Board regarding personnel issues such as hiring, compensation and benefits. The Executive Committee is also responsible for board cultivation and recruitment.

Ways and Means: strategizes how to fund the organization’s annual activities, and plans the organization’s annual fundraising calendar.

Working Groups

Events: organizes the annual fundraiser.

Facilities: responsible for improvements to and maintenance of the Town Hall and Depot in accordance with the Corporation’s contract with the City of Issaquah, and maintenance of the Auto Freight Building.

Board Members

Brenda DeVore

Brenda DeVore has been an active community member since she moved to Issaquah with her husband, Dave, in 1991. She is a mom to two children and enjoys outdoor activities, such as cycling and gardening. Brenda’s career path is strong and varied; her experiences with community engagement, event planning, and fundraising have consistently proven helpful to IHM’s operations. Brenda’s service on IHM’s Board of Directors stems from a passion for actively supporting her community.

Emily Lee

Emily Lee is an elementary educator in the Issaquah School District and enjoys making connections between IHM’s rich resources and the content students are studying in school. She believes that local history is an entry point for all members of our community to feel connected as we build that history together every day. Emily has a background in cultural anthropology and serves on the Board of the Snoqualmie Valley History Museum.

Donald Robertson

Donald Robertson is a retired Chief of Contracting for the U.S. Coast Guard and an Issaquah resident since 1983. He started volunteering as a docent at the Depot Museum in 2013 and has been on the Board of Directors for two years. He believes in the importance of IHM’s mission and enjoys doing what he can to support that mission.

Benton Coblentz

Benton Coblentz serves as the City of Issaquah’s representative on the IHM Board. Having graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in economics, he works now as the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Issaquah. Benton is honored to serve on the IHM Board and is passionate about local history and its preservation.

Katie Brookshire

Katie Brookshire is a Senior Account Executive with Semaphore, a local networking tech company where she helps companies with their technology infrastructure to better serve their communities. She is the head track & field and assistant cross-country coach at IHS. Katie holds a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on ESL; an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership and Organizational Change; and is nearly finished with her doctoral studies in Education. She believes in the mission of IHM and is passionate about their role in the future success of our community.

Julia Belgrave

Julia has been a part of IHM since 2008. Over the years, she has been a volunteer, intern, staff member, and now Board Member. Julia has founded and worked for a variety of community-based education non-profits and enjoys seeing how her work and relationships inform one another. Being on the Board of IHM has expanded and evolved her understanding of what it means to be in service to a larger community. As a homeschooling mother of two, she has a special place in her heart for the online collections and resources that make teaching history accessible.

Rebecca Lawrence

Rebecca first came to the Issaquah History Museums as a practicum project student in 2011. After receiving her Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Washington, she continued as a volunteer, caring for IHM’s collections, assisting with exhibit design, and participating in community outreach at local events. Her latest role, serving as a board member, provides Rebecca with a rewarding and meaningful way to connect with staff, volunteers, and our community, while still working to preserve Issaquah’s history.

Board Member Inquiry