Saturday was not your normal day at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art as people rushed to the small museum to try and score a free pair of eclipse viewers. The museum announced on Facebook Friday that they had 5,000 eclipse glasses to pass out, but they had no idea what kind of response they would get.
“We open at 10 a.m., and there were already people sitting here, and we don't even have them yet,” Facilities and Operations Director Scott Farwell explained. They told people that they would pass them out starting at 3 p.m. and by then the line wrapped around the building.
The museum said word spread and people came from Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Seattle. Corrina Verden drove about an hour from Olalla.
“We were watching the clock run down and trying not to go too fast, of course."
Verden said she’d been trying to find glasses for days and kept striking out at local stores as she fought traffic and drove to Bainbridge she hoped the trek would pay off.
“I was panicking the entire time.”
The museum just found out about the eclipse viewers from a supplier Friday who thought they might want to sell them in their store. The museum decided it would be better to use them to connect with people.
“It may just be a way to be exposed to the museum and come see it,” Farwell said.
They accepted donations but didn't charge anyone and said by protecting people's eyes from the sun they gave their museum needed exposure in a different way.
“We were packed in here because people would come in and then got exposed to the museum, and we had so many people comment about how wonderful it was they'd never seen this place before."
They still had a few stacks left at the end of the day and plan to pass those out on Sunday. They suggested people not take more than four viewers with a suggested donation of $10.