Sharon Tiffany

A new reading nook has opened at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum in Stevenson is dedicated to Sharon Tiffany, pictured above, a longtime museum supporter.

It has been more than two years since the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum (CGICM) in Stevenson has offered coffee to visitors, due to safety measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic. CGICM recently announced the return of fresh hot coffee (with suggested donation of .50 cents) with an exciting new twist: “The Sharon Tiffany Reading Nook.”

Sharon Tiffany, a Skamania County resident, was a part of the original interpretive center dream from its conceptional beginning in 1979. It was at this time that the Skamania County Historical Society received the donation of the archaeological “Emory Strong” collection, and with it came the realization that the basement in the Skamania County Annex Building was no longer large enough for a proper museum.

“Sharon paved the way to a new center when she approached Skamania County Commissioner Ed Callahan with the question, ‘Can the county ... would the county help us, the society, build a new museum?’” said a press release. “This simple question was but the beginning; it would take Sharon and countless others more than 16 years of dedicated hard work and fundraising to see their dream become a reality.”

After years of securing funds and exhibits to represent the variety of people and cultures that call Skamania County home, as well as designer Jean Jacques Andre, the Skamania County Historical Society opened the doors of the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center on May 17, 1995. Tiffany would become CGICM’s first official executive director under the guidance of the Skamania County Historical Society.

“Retiring from ‘official’ service at CGICM in 2011 did not stop her love and support of the preservation of local history as her and her husband, Allen Tiffany, continue as alumni members of CGICM to this day, lending knowledge and practical support where possible,” said a press release. “Sharon and Allen Tiffany are true gems of Skamania County!”

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, in conjunction with The Skamania County Historical Society, officially recognized Tiffany for her “outstanding dedication and hard work” with the dedication of the “Sharon Tiffany Reading Nook” Dec. 30.

“I personally feel it is time to honor Sharon as she not only dedicated many years to the fulfillment of the dream of a local interpretive center, but continues to be a source of encouragement, mentorship, and support down to this day,” said CGICM Executive Director Robert Peterson. “Sharon is an avid reader; I can’t think of a more perfect representation than a reading nook to recognize her life’s work in preserving Skamania’s history for future generations to enjoy. She was a blessing to work with and I am proud to call her friend.”

Today, CGICM is visited each year by more than 20,000 people from all over the world, giving them a glance into the history and people of the Columbia River Gorge. This newly designed reading nook will create a quiet, comfortable place to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book, or connect to the museum’s wifi, said a press release.

“Fore more than 35 years, Sharon has directly worked with the historical society in the preservation of Skamania’s rich history, creating a place Skamania County could be proud of with the opening of the Interpretive Center,” said a press release. “Sharon, along with her husband Allen, continue to be some of the museum’s biggest cheerleaders.”