Sausalito’s Storied History Will Come to Life at the New Ice House Museum; Show Your Support by Contributing to the Matching Grant Campaign

Ice House Museum

The Sausalito Historical Society is launching a final push to complete its $250,000 funding goal for a new museum in historic downtown Sausalito, culminating with a gala celebration at the historic Pines Mansion on May 14. The Make It Better Foundation and Marin Magazine have generously offered to match donations of up to $10,000 in support of the campaign, which runs through May 15.

Sausalito’s rich and colorful history — from the native Coast Miwoks to early immigrants, boat builders, bootleggers, bohemians and artists — will be captured at the state-of-the art Ice House Museum slated to open later this year. Acclaimed museum designers The Sibbett Group, donated the design for transforming the historic interior of the 125-year-old Ice House into what Donald Sibbett describes as “a multimedia gallery of important stories which can evolve over time with technology.”

The open gallery design will also allow for after-hours lectures or intimate musical offerings.

The museum will feature wall-mounted and underground niches for artifacts, while offering visitors a technology-driven deeper dive into topics such as: the turn-of-the-century activist women who founded the Julia Morgan-designed Sausalito Woman’s Club after being stonewalled by the town’s corrupt politicians; poet, song writer and cartoonist Shel Silverstein; Sausalito’s infamous “madam” Mayor Sally Stanford; and Zen philosopher and self-titled entertainer Alan Watts.

Sausalito ice house

The museum’s design team is committed to incorporating the stories of marginalized and underrepresented people. Coast Miwok Tribe descendants will help frame the museum’s stories about the Liwaneloa, the indigenous Miwok village in the heart of what is now Sausalito. 

Marin City stories also will be told. With the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, the residents of Sausalito’s Pine Point were given a two-week eviction notice so that their land could be dynamited to create the Marinship Yard to assemble urgently needed ships for the war effort. With the traditional white male workforce serving in the military, the Bechtel Company recruited Blacks, women, Dust Bowl migrants and older men who came together at the Marinship yards to launch 93 oilers and liberty ships that helped win the war. Marin City was founded to house this diverse group of workers. Famed Black singer, civil rights icon and Marinship welder Joseph James wrote that racial harmony was the rule, not the exception, among shipyard workers. His voice will be included in the museum.

Sausalito Historical Society docents have taught the local history curriculum for the past 14 years to all Sausalito/Marin City third-grade students, 75% of whom are economically disadvantaged. The new museum will have age-appropriate exhibits and learning tools for students of all ages. It also will be a cultural anchor and economic stimulator for downtown businesses that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The Sausalito Historical Society volunteer team, led by architect Stanford Hughes, is raising 100% of funding for the new museum through charitable donations and a community service grant from the County of Marin.

Join in the Celebration

The May 14 Ice House Museum fundraiser will be held from 6-9 p.m. at The Pines, Sausalito’s elegant historic mansion. Guests can explore the four-story mansion, enjoy cocktails and sample abundant hors d’oeuvres. Live and silent auction offerings include stays at three vacation homes, a three-course chef’s dinner for 12 at the Pines Mansion, and hotel/restaurant packages for the Casa Madrona Hotel (Poggio), Inn Above Tide (Spinnaker) and Cavallo Point. 

Tickets to the Ice Museum Gala Fundraiser are now available on Eventbrite.

Furthering the Cause

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Ice House Museum, go to the Sausalito Historical Society’s website or send a check to the Sausalito Historical Society – Ice House Museum:PO Box 352, Sausalito, CA94966. Donors of $500 or more to the Ice House Museum can obtain two complimentary tickets to the gala by sending an RSVP to by May 5. Please specify your name, phone number and the number of tickets required. 

Thank you to our trusted brand sponsors: 

Lastly, thank you to our donor matching pledges:Susan B. Noyes, Donald Sibbett and Brianna Cutts, Susan Frank, and Dana and Kent Whitson.

More from Better:

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate