Carla St. John (on the right in the photo below) and Rowena Chaney (left) began volunteering at the Sunnydale Elementary School, site of the Highline School District Museum, in the spring of 1981. Together they accessioned and cataloged hundreds of school district and community archival materials and developed a museum display that was widely recognized as one of the finest school museums in the western United States.
Until shortly before her death in 1990, Carla spent an average of 30-hours a week at the museum. Rowena worked by her side for much of this time and then continued to maintain the facility after Carla’s death.
In 1991, the Highline School District administration determined that the Sunnydale building space was needed for students. The museum collection was moved to the gymnasium at Lakeview Elementary School and subsequently closed to the public. The Highline School District Museum was merged with the Burien Heritage Society in 1997, with the Heritage Society the surviving entity. The Society then changed its name to Highline Historical Society to more clearly reflect the scope of its collections.
The Highline Historical Society owes a debt of gratitude to this pair of willing and fabulous volunteers who were responsible for assembling the high quality collection of Highline School District Museum materials that form the basis for a large part of the present museum collections.