Exhibit Highlight: Filming Twin Peaks in the Snoqualmie Valley

[Guest Post by Kaitlyn Murray, Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum staff member]

In 1989, Hollywood excitement came to the Snoqualmie Valley with the arrival of production crews, actors, and film sets for a new television show called Twin Peaks.

Residents gathered around local filming locations to catch a glimpse of the excitement brought to their small towns. Locals were unaware of the future popularity the show would gain and how Twin Peaks would soon become one of the many reasons tourists come to visit the Snoqualmie Valley.

Welcome to Twin Peaks sign replica.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum: The Real Twin Peaks Exhibit
Photograph taken by Ken Shipley

The Snoqualmie Valley is known for its long rainy seasons, dense forests, and small-town communities. The Twin Peaks production crew utilized this setting to enhance their unique storyline. The rain and fog surrounding the backdrop of evergreen trees, mountains, and Snoqualmie Falls blended perfectly with Badalamenti’s soundtrack to create a mystifying atmosphere for the show.

Scenes were filmed in locations such as Twede’s Cafe (Double R Diner), Mount Si Motel (Red Diamond Motel), Salish Lodge & Spa (Great Northern Hotel), and Mount Si High School (Twin Peaks High School).

These locations depicted a classic American town, which, through juxtaposition, highlighted the show’s surrealist elements. Producers intensified the mysterious narrative and the show’s film noir tone by filming in the Snoqualmie Valley.

A copy of the original thank you letter written by the Twin Peaks production crew for using a local’s home during filming. The referenced window used during filming is on display at the museum.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum: The Real Twin Peaks Exhibit
Photograph taken by Ken Shipley

The first season of the hit television show Twin Peaks was aired in 1990. The show centered around the mysterious murder of a high school girl in a small town and followed Special Agent Dale Cooper as he worked to solve this difficult case. The television show had two consecutive seasons. In 2015, a third season was created due to continued interest in the show.

The show revolutionized television by breaking norms with graphic scenes depicting controversial topics, mixing comedy alongside horror, and complex mystical plot lines. Audiences were fascinated with the show’s magical realism and eccentric characters. After its release on ABC Television Network, Twin Peaks quickly became an international hit and cultivated a large following of devout fans.

Twin Peaks’ captivating storyline inspired other media releases. The 1992 film Fire Walk With Me delved deeper into the show’s plot while exploring the characters’ backstories. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, a novel written by David Lynch’s daughter between the airing of the first and second seasons, enabled readers to experience the show’s story through the eyes of Laura Palmer.

Log Lady Mouse diorama created by Twin Peaks fan and artist Ingvild Eiring.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum: The Real Twin Peaks Exhibit
Photograph taken by Ken Shipley

In 1992, the first Twin Peaks Festival was formed. Fans flocked to the Snoqualmie Valley to celebrate their favorite show and embrace their Twin Peaks fandom among fellow admirers. The Twin Peaks fan community has thrived over the years, with people traveling to the Valley annually for the festival, even 34 years after the first season was aired on television.  

The Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum collaborated with Twin Peaks fans and collectors to create the museum exhibit The Real Twin Peaks. This exhibit focuses on the series’ creation and the impact it has had on fans. The showcased filming props and production documents give a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s creation. Visitors eager to learn more about the locations where their favorite scenes were filmed can learn about the history of prominent filming locations through educational exhibit slides.

Salish Lodge Dinner with the Stars event program and autograph book from the first Twin Peaks Festival in 1992.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum: The Real Twin Peaks Exhibit
Photograph taken by Ken Shipley

The Real Twin Peaks exhibit explores how fans have continued to connect with the show by displaying exclusive collectible items, prop replicas, and fan art. Fans can experience what it would be like to be inside the show’s notorious red room by entering the exhibit’s immersive space that displays the chair used on screen.

This temporary exhibit will be open to viewers until September. Visit the museum to learn about the locally filmed series that had a major influence on the style of modern television.

[Featured Image: The red room chair used on set during the filming of Twin Peaks season 3. Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum: The Real Twin Peaks Exhibit Photograph by Ken Shipley]

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