There is a town in Washington State between Leavenworth and Wenatchee called Cashmere. This is a fine town of close to 3,000 people that is really worth getting to know. It is a mostly family-oriented town surrounded by fruit orchards. The fruit most commonly grown is apples. Washington grows more apples than any other state.
The town of Cashmere has a museum that is worth getting to know by outsiders who may not appreciate it the same way a local does. The Kashmir area of India is not specifically named for the Cashmere goat that is a common animal in both China and Mongolia. India has an area known as Kashmir that is mostly a tourist oriented place. It helps while visiting in this museum to remember that India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. It is full of castes and tribes and has lots of religious sects that are strictly local. The capital of Kashmir is Srinagar. Most of the flights from this city on the Jhelem River are going to Delhi in India, not Mongolia.
Mongolia has the best cashmere in the world. This is a very soft fabric used for luxury garments. It was brought to the United States by an Austrian in 1947 and remains a popular fabric here in this country. While most of the cashmere comes from goats in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, it’s disappearing at this source due to goat behavior that is destroying the land. Most of the world’s cashmere comes from goats in the Gobi Desert. This goat behavior will change the export of cashmere in the near future.
Some of the cashmere that makes it to market comes from North India. The area known as Ladakh is the source. Kashmir is the northern-most geographic region of India, so the cashmere that has named the Washington town is a fabric that is highly prized. There is a connection between Cashmere, the fabric, and Kashmir, the region of India that has named this town.
The Cashmere Museum is said to be a true local treasure, and it is. As Ruth & I were waiting for it to open, men were trimming the grass behind the museum to get ready for its opening that day. This museum is truly a local effort. Local school-aged children spend a day learning about different cultures and participate regularly in museum activities. Outsiders may or may not appreciate its value. I certainly didn’t get its significance as I looked at its collections on 2 levels. These collections were put together by locals who want to pass on the knowledge imparted by these collections to future generations. This museum’s 13,000 square feet filled with Native American artifacts may be of less interest to outsiders, and the historic buildings outside that have been gathered from elsewhere and put into a pioneer village may not be appreciated in the same way by locals and visitors from other regions. The value of the baskets, beadwork, jewelry, tools, and stuffed animals on display may be misunderstood by casual visitors from places other than Cashmere. That trapper’s cabin outside may have more meaning to a local child who was recently participated in that cabin as a school project and lives in this particular town than to a traveling person who is looking for a new experience.