Central Washington Ag Museum reopens with guided audio tours on your phone

Free grand reopening celebration set for Saturday afternoon

UNION GAP, Wash. — After a two-year closure, the Central Washington Agricultural Museum will reopen Saturday with new smartphone-guided audio tours.

At the grand reopening celebration, visitors will be able to pick up a card at the main gate with a code that will allow them to download the audio tours on their phone and listen to descriptions of 33 different exhibits.

Museum volunteer Bill McLaughlin said they’re launching the free audio tours in the hopes that they’ll be an educational resource for the whole community, but especially for children and young adults.

“Most of us guys are 70 or older down here and a lot of the young people don’t have time for the agriculture or the tractors,” McLaughlin said. “So what we’re trying to do is instill some of this stuff to the young people.”

McLaughlin became a volunteer after he retired and for almost a decade, he’s been fixing old farm equipment and building things at the museum. He said at the moment, his favorite part of the museum is the old 1930s era sawmill he operates for demonstrations.

“The sawmill was pulled out of Naches about eight years ago and we just put a new engine on it,” McLaughlin said. “In the olden days, they used to use either a stationary engine or a tractor.”

McLaughlin said the sawmill is one of dozens of exhibits with signs posted directing people to which audio tour to listen to — either in English or Spanish.

Other exhibits include old farming equipment, a replica 1908 homestead, a Northern Pacific Railroad boxcar, a blacksmith shop, the Young’s Cabin agricultural worker exhibit, horse-drawn wagon rides, a pioneer cabin built in 1917 and the Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum.

“I’d like to see a big group come out tomorrow,” McLaughlin said. “Anybody that wants to come down and walk through the museum or have a picnic, the grounds are open.”

Admission is free for the grand reopening of the Central Washington Agricultural Museum, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The museum is located at 4508 Main St. in Union Gap. Visitors can park at Fullbright Park and take a free tram to the museum entrance.