The Washington State Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)3 membership organization, open to any and all individuals, families, or firms. The Society is also recognized in statute (RCW 27.34) as a trustee agency of the state of Washington with enumerated powers.
Founded in 1891 and now into its second century of service, the Washington State Historical Society is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and vividly presenting Washington's rich and storied history. The Historical Society is comprised of a family of museums and research centers, offering a variety of services to researchers, historians, scholars, and lifelong learners.
By connecting personal, local, regional, and national stories to the universality of the human experience, and collecting materials from our state that help tell those stories, the Washington State Historical Society has become indispensable to the people of Washington and a vital part of state government.
The Historical Society is governed by a Board of Trustees, which includes seven public officials (the Governor, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction and four State Legislators) who serve ex officio. Trustees (excepting statewide elected officials) are limited to three three-year terms; the officers (President, Vice Presidents for western and eastern Washington and the Treasurer) are limited to two three-year terms. The director is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the board and functions as the corporate secretary.
The Washington State Historical Society partners with our communities to explore how history connects us all.
To be Washington’s flagship historical organization offering resources and services to citizens, visitors, and others interested in our state’s history.
- Community Engagement
- Collect, catalog, and preserve artifacts, manuscripts, maps, ephemera, photographs, and books that are reflective of our state’s history. Make the collections available for public and internal use, including digital assets accessible online.
- Engage students and teachers, organizations, agencies, and communities statewide through effective outreach and effective partnerships using National History Day, Heritage Capital Projects, conferences, workshops, and technical assistance.
- Coordinate access to women’s history information and resources at the Society and partner institutions for the Web-based Women’s History Consortium, for which the Society is the lead agency.
- Provide interpretive services to K-12 students for teachers and the general public using school field trips, teacher professional development training, and public programs.
- Create online curricula closely aligned with state assessment requirements for public use in schools statewide in keeping with the society’s Education Digital Initiative (EDI) and the state’s commitment to increased student academic achievement.
- Provide interpretive services to museum visitors through American and Washington history-themed permanent and temporary exhibits.
- Provide a safe and enjoyable museum experience by maintaining well-functioning museum facilities. Preserve the state’s investment in our facilities through preventive maintenance and building systems upgrades.