Historical Documentaries and Films

Filmmakers past and present have provided us an opportunity to witness Anacortes’ evolution in a distinct and special way. Five decades of Anacortes are captured with unique commentary and historical footage. These films allow you to not only see what life was like back then, but to get a feel for the culture and lifestyle.Its easy for one to imagine watching these films on the day they premiered, in a town not similar to the one you live in today, but not too different. 



Purse Seiners on the Salmon Banks (1950)

Enjoy more vintage film from the Anacortes Museum showing a day on a purse seiner on the Salmon Banks circa 1950. This expanded footage from clips included in the Perfect Port, featuring Joe Maticich, Mike Pirak, Benny Colacino, and more local fisherman. The old film is introduced by Bret Lunsford and Gib Moore.

John Tursi on Salmon Fishing and Canning in Anacortes (1980s)

Watch John Tursi as he gives an insider look on Salmon fishing and canning in Anacortes. Tursi was an extremely involved member of the community working in the salmon canneries, the Morrison Mill, and as a member of the CCC building Deception Pass State Park. The film itself was shot in the 1950s but narrated by John Tursi in the 1980s. Anacortes Museum Director Bret Lunsford introduces the video.

Bill Mitchell & the Anacortes Mural Project (2020)

Despite an auto-accident in his youth that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Bill Mitchell  made it his life’s work to fill Anacortes, Washington with life-size murals of famous figures within the town. A true testament to perseverance, he refused to let his injury get in the way of his goals. 

Filmmaker Corin Noronha spent time with Bill in late 2018 and early 2019; together they formed what is an intimate and joyful look at the artists’ legacy during the last stretch of his life. For the first time, get an inside look at the mural project through Bill’s own words. Learn about his inspirations, his struggles and his incredible 150+ mural project that has left an undying mark on our town. We hope you enjoy, "Bill Mitchell & the Anacortes Mural Project."

After watching, please check out our pages dedicated to Bill and the future of the mural project - now under Museum supervision! 




The Perfect Port: Anacortes Waterfront Legends & Lore (2005)

"This documentary had to be made. One doesn’t need to live in Anacortes very long to to realize that it is a community in transition. Many people today have no idea what it has taken to whittle this town out of the frontier it once was. Close to resources, close to the ocean, and close, relatively, to Alaska, Anacortes served as the ’Perfect Port’ for vessels bound for fishing grounds up north.  Canneries, warehouses, box mills, shipyards and railroads sprang up to process and ship the bounty the fishermen brought home. In Anacortes’ heyday, everything was related, one way or another, to fishing. Fishing was the life blood of so many families.  To fully appreciate what we have, we need to never lose of how we got here. This documentary is meant to serve as a legacy and tribute to the fishing families who built this town."  -John Killingsworth


Experience Anacortes in the 1990s

Looking to settle in Anacortes but not sold on us yet? Look no further than this informational video put together by the Chamber of Commerce in the ‘90s! Now available on our YouTube channel, experience Anacortes as if you were a prospective buyer or a casual tourist.


A Tour of Anacortes in the 1970s

Experience Anacortes, Washington just as it was in the 1970s! Explore everywhere from the slopes of Mt. Baker to the the beaches of Cap Sante. To cap it all off, enjoy footage from a historic Anacortes Arts and Crafts Festival. Travel back in time with us to an era many in town still remember.


A Trip Around Anacortes in the 1960s

Take a peek inside Anacortes as it was in the 1960s! This film takes the viewer throughout our little town to places of present and past. This includes: the state ferry dock, the Skyline swimming pool, the Bank of Anacortes, various neighborhoods, Safeway, industrial mills and much, much more.  


Our Town Anacortes (1954)

Why are you proud of Anacortes? Is it because of our natural lands found in the ACFL? Is it because of the many community events that showcase our pride? There are many reasons to be proud to live here. This video, “Our Town” (now posted to our Youtube channel), shows why people were proud of Anacortes in 1954. Featured in this short film, created for the Chamber of Commerce, are interviews with multiple people, including Raymond Pinson, City Mayor at the time, Fred Cartwright of People’s National Bank, and Lloyd Foster, Manager of the Port of Anacortes.



Museum staff Corin Noronha and intern John Harrison take you on a documentary tour of some of Anacortes’ most iconic history.

Bobo the Gorilla

Bobo the Gorilla was once a resident of Anacortes in the 1950s. A growing gorilla with a huge heart, he is considered one of the town’s most famous residents. Learn about Bobo’s life, from his upbringing with the Lowman family to his death at the Woodland Park Zoo in 1968, as told by Bill Mitchell! Museum filmmaker Corin Noronha made this segment in early 2018, when Mitchell began making murals of Bobo to display around Anacortes and beyond. Bobo was born in 1951 and acquired by the Lowman family soon after, he came home to Anacortes in December 1951. It is interesting to note that Bill Lowman’s grandfather, acquired a monkey c.1905 and brought it to Anacortes: perhaps that early experience predisposed the Lowmans to taking on a gorilla [See Lowman family file in museum research library.]  December 1953 the Lowmans gave Bobo to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle where he lived until his death on February 22, 1968. Bobo was a huge attraction at the zoo, as was his intended mate, Fifi. For good footage of Bobo at the Lowman home, see the channel 9 production, "Things That Aren’t Here anymore" in the museum collection.

A Historic Tour of Anacortes (2018)

Anacortes, Washington is a city full of local businesses, docked boats and extraordinary views. However, underneath all of that is a story. A rich history with more connections to the modern day than you would think. This is Anacortes.

The Scott Paper Pulp Mill (2018)

In the early days of Anacortes, the city was less focused on tourism and service and more focused on timber and canning. With almost 80 people employed at the time of its closure in 1978, the Scott Paper Pulp Mill was an integral part of Anacortes’s through the 1900s.