As of 2015, the Weyerhaeuser Company became the largest private owner of timber in the United States. They began this journey when they moved from Mississippi to Washington in 1900. The state, having only been admitted to the union 11 years earlier, was still in it’s infancy. When Weyerhaeuser Timber Company (as it was known then) arrived in Longview, the tiny production mill was the largest the area had ever seen.
The company continued to grow, buying up timberland, expanding to mills in Canada, and developing plans to keep the lumber industry sustainable.
On November 11th, 1989, President Bush signed off on Washington Centennial Day, the 100 year celebration of Washington’s admittance to the Union.
That same year, Weyerhaeuser opened the Bonsai Collection, a symbol of commitment to the land, the people and the culture of Washington.
By 2013, the company donated the collection to it’s own non-profit, establishing the Pacific Bonsai Museum.
The museum, running along side the Rhododendron garden (which does have an admission fee), offers an indoor glass area for more fragile bonsai plants, a guest shop with home decor, books and other fairly standard offerings, and the bonsai trees themselves.
Most trees are displayed individually, with stock rotated out through the year. If you visit every other month or so, you’ll find a new look every time.
The exhibits vary as well. From Wireless, a display geared towards the art of wire use in bonsai trees, to Stone Images, a display about natural rocks that display nature scenes, well, naturally, you’ll find something to educate you on the art of bonsai.
The current exhibit, “Decked-Out: From Scroll to Skateboard”, runs from April to October and features urban art on skateboard murals, an updated twist on the art that often accompanied the bonsai tree displays in Japan. Find more information on this exhibit at the website: http://pacificbonsaimuseum.org/
The Pacific Bonsai Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every third Thursday from March through September. Admission is free. Donations are accepted.