Smithsonian exhibit will fence in Sequim for six weeks

SEQUIM — This town will have a lot more fences for the next six weeks.

Barbed wire, pickets, even national border barricades.

They’re coming to the Museum and Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley from the Smithsonian Institution.

“Between Fences,” a nationally touring exhibit of images and artifacts, arrives Saturday and stays until March 12 at the center, 175 W. Cedar St.

Former director Randy Sturgis began work more than a year ago on bringing the Smithsonian show to Sequim.

He left for a job in the private sector in November, but continues serving as a consultant to the new director, Katherine Vollenweider.

Sturgis learned of “Between Fences” through Museum on Main Street, a federally funded program that brings special shows to rural museums that otherwise couldn’t afford them.

“This one just caught my eye,” he said.

“Just looking around Sequim, and with the changing nature of the community, this seemed like a really interesting exhibit.”

Fences are symbolic

Fences, after all, symbolize humans’ impact on the land.

In Sequim’s case, the timber was cleared and farms fenced with that wood — and now fresh barriers wrap around the town’s mushrooming development.

“It makes you think about: What are you fencing in and what are you fencing out?” Sturgis said.

To him, the building of fences over the decades shows Sequim’s evolution.

Picket fences, of course, mean prosperity, or at least the American dream of it.

Barbed wire can be good or bad, depending on whether you’re a landowner or a land-crosser.

Another kind of barbed wire can make a school look like a prison, as shown in one “Between Fences” photograph.

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