Built in 1907, the building was originally the Miners & Merchants Bank. During the 1930s a women’s shop (the Smart Shoppe), occupied part of the basement and had its own entrance on Emerson Street. In 1932 the bank began using paper money—silver coins had been preferred until then. In 1930 the first ever bank robbery in Chelan County, the bank was robbed of $1,000 by two gunmen, who were captured in Manson after a 30-minute chase. The museum opened in 1970 when the bank (by then Seattle First National) needed to be modernized, and the building was donated to the Lake Chelan Historical Society. Two walk-in safes remain in the building.