August 2019 – Northwest and Pacific Notes


By Theodora Dracopoulos Argue

In 2015, The Greek American Historical Museum of Washington State organized an exhibit entitled “A Place at the Table,” in conjunction with Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) focusing on a number of the nearly 300 Greek-owned restaurants in Washington State. Thousands of visitors to MOHAI during the four-month period of the exhibit saw photographs and artifacts from one hundred years of Greeks feeding people of the state. A video of the exhibit can be seen at 

With the success of its MOHAI presentation, the virtual museum now has published a book entitled, A Place at the Table: Images of Greek-American Restaurants and Suppliers in Washington State 1900 to 1970, written and curated by Greeks in Washington former intern Erika L. Wigren.

Erika Wigren with her capstone poster (Photo Credit:
The Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington

She completed the book as her capstone project for receiving her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. The book contains photos and brief write-ups on numerous restaurants and supporting businesses as well as poignant quotes from members of the Washington State Greek-American community.

Over the past several years, the Greeks in Washington has had booths at the area Greek Festivals to introduce the Greeks and general public to the Museum. This year at the “Bite of Greece” Festival at Assumption Church (Seattle, WA) over Memorial Day weekend, the museum had a display promoting the soon-to-be-published book which came out right after the festival. On display and visited by many festival goers, were artifacts and a montage from the collection, mounted by intern Erika Wigren and church events coordinator John Maxwell.

A Place at the Table (Photo Credit: The Greek-American Historical Museum of
Washington State).

A Place at the Table is available for $30 including postage/handling from Greeks in Washington, c/o Church of the Assumption, 1804 – 13th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122. The museum is conducting a fund-raising campaign: for a $200 donation, donors will receive the book for free and will help perpetuate the organization’s mission. The Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) in the State of Washington.

Greeks in Washington Exhibit at the “Bite of Greece” Festival (Photo
Credit: The Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State).

The Greek-American Historical Museum of Washington State is primarily a museum without walls. It has an impressive online collection of some hundred oral interviews, and even more photos and videos of Greek immigrants and their descendants in Washington State in its archives. These remembrances can be accessed at  Founded just ten years ago, the Museum has already made a major impact in presenting and preserving ethnic history in the area. John and Joann Nicon are the masterminds of the Museum. Together with Joann Nicon’s sister Helen Georges, they have conducted and edited the many interviews.

According to the Museum’s official website, on their page that is titled The Collection, it is stated that: “the Museum has over 600 items that serve to help share the stories of the Greek experience in Washington State. These items have been donated or loaned to the Museum and are cataloged and preserved in the Museum archive. Items are organized by category. There is a special section dedicated to the AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) family. One may browse the categories or use the search capability to view the items.  The physical archive may be visited by appointment.”

Awards Received by the Greeks In Washington Museum

Sourced from

Charles Payton Heritage Advocacy Award, Association of King County Historical Organizations

Award of Project Excellence, Washington Museum Association

Awards Received by Founders, John and Joann Nicon

Sourced from

Aspasia Phoutrides Pulakis Memorial Award, Ethnic Heritage Council of the Northwest


Email the author: Theodora Argue

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