The Useppa Island Historical Society was started in 1984 as a non-profit, private organization. It is owned solely by the members of the Historical Society and supported entirely by the donations requested upon entrance into the Barbara Sumwalt Museum and through charitable gifts made by generous donors and Historical Society members.
Formed to preserve the unique history of Useppa Island, the Historical Society has been blessed by dedicated members who have worked tirelessly for years to raise the funds necessary to create a museum that would honor and chronicle the history of Useppa.
The Museum is owned and managed by the Useppa Island Historical Society. Originally built as a cottage, the Museum building and the land where the museum now resides were generously gifted to the Historical Society. The cottage was moved and reconstructed, and on April 2, 1994, ten years after the creation of the Useppa Island Historical Society, the Useppa Museum opened.
In 2002 the Board of Directors of the Historical Society unanimously voted to change the name of the museum to The Barbara Sumwalt Museum in honor of the woman who devoted boundless time, energy and her marvelous talents to the Useppa Island Historical Society and the Museum.