Winthrop’s  Shafer Museum (Castle Ave., 509/996-2712, Thurs.–Mon. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. late May to September, closed the rest of the year, donations appreciated) is housed in an 1897 log home (a.k.a. “The Castle”) built by the town’s founder, Guy Waring. Displays include pioneer farming and mining tools, bicycles, furniture, an impressive rifle collection, and other relics from the early days in the Methow Valley .
Outside, you’ll find a town’s worth of buildings, including a general store, print shop, homestead cabin, schoolhouse, and assay office, plus old wagons, mining equipment, and aging farm implements. The 1923 Rickenbacker automobile here is one of just 80 still in existence.
Walk down Riverside (Main Street) to find all sorts of Western shops, some with authentic arts and crafts, most with junk. White Buck Trading Co. (509/996-3500) is named for a big white buck displayed inside. It was shot in 1953. The informal White Buck Museum in the rear of the store contains more stuffed critters and a collection of trivial items from the past, including—of all things—the first dial phone in Chicago.
Last Trading Post (509/996-9833) is packed with Old West Americana, from antiques to painted cattle skulls. Downstairs is a museum of sorts, with historic flotsam and jetsam, plus various Native American artifacts.
The Forest Service’s North Cascade Smokejumper Base (halfway between Winthrop  and Twisp  along Hwy. 20, 509/997-2031, www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka  June–Sept. daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) is open for tours during the fire season. It was here in the fall of 1939 that the first experimental parachute jumps were held to determine the safety and effectiveness of reaching remote mountain forest fires from the air. The first fires were successfully attacked by smoke jumpers from this base the following summer. Today, the “birthplace of smoke jumping” has historical photos, but it is also a very active center during the peak of fire season and home to an elite group of firefighters.
The Winthrop National Fish Hatchery (a mile south of town, 509/996-2424, daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m.) raises 1.5 million spring chinook salmon and 750,000 trout annually in large, covered raceways.