Schooner at The Hands On Children’s Museum

The Hands On Children’s Museum will open the new “Megan D” schooner exhibit this summer after the vessel’s renovation is completed on-site at the museum.

In June, the Museum closed the southbound lane of Marine Drive to transport the 56’ vintage wooden vessel from its renovation site at the Port of Olympia Swantown Boatworks to the Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center. A giant Snell Crane lifted the vessel from the roadway and sent it flying over the Museum’s trike loop to float it into its new foundation as part of the Puget Sound Beach exhibit in the Museum’s outdoor space.

Last fall, the Museum saved the Megan D from the Port of Olympia where it was due to be scrapped. Although it was a daunting project, a team of talented retired carpenters from FORMA Construction stepped forward to lead the renovation that will turn the vintage schooner into one of the most unique children’s museum exhibits in the nation. Since that time, dozens of community businesses and skilled trades have stepped forward to contribute to the special project.

“We often say that the fingerprints of the entire community are on this Museum and the Megan D is a shining example of that generosity,” says Museum Executive Director Patty Belmonte.

The new exhibit will give children the chance to scale a 6’ rope climb to the top deck, navigate the ship’s ladder to explore the boat’s hull, climb into the crow’s nest, learn about wind power and even walk the plank. As the newest addition to the Museum’s Puget Sound Beach exhibit, the Megan D will be a touch-point for learning about Northwest maritime history when schooners carried fish and timber up and down the west coast.  

Visitors can watch the final stages of the renovation including painting, mast and rigging installation, propping progress throughout the summer. The new exhibit is expected to open in August. 

For more information visit:

Hands On Children’s Museum 
414 Jefferson St. NE | Olympia, WA 98501