State Historical Society needs your help to save Tacoma’s stories

Mar. 7, 2015

Tacoma ephemeraTACOMA… Ephemera is a Greek word meaning “lasting but for a day.” In the museum world it usually refers to paper items like tickets, playbills and posters – everyday items that serve a brief purpose and are meant to be tossed aside. But sometimes ephemera gets saved, and over time can give communities a rare glimpse into their past. 

“We have three amazing posters from Tacoma’s early days that are in desperate need of restoration, and – thanks to the Power2Give website – we’re able to maximize any donations we receive to help save these stories of our past,” said Laura Berry, Development Director at the Washington State Historical Society. “However we only have until the end of March to raise the funding necessary to preserve these vital links, which is why we’re issuing this call to action to those interested in saving pieces of Tacoma’s history.” 

The pieces in question are colorful – albeit damaged – posters that date back to the early part of last century. One advertises Tacoma’s grand Carnival of Nations, held in 1912. Another promotes the U.S. Military Tournament at Tacoma Stadium (now Stadium High School), “the only public school stadium in the world.” These posters are the only ones known to exist, making them uniquely rare items in the Washington State Historical Society’s collection. 

For every dollar donated toward the $5,000 goal, sponsors will contribute an additional half-dollar. Donors who give at certain levels, such as $25, $50, $100, or higher, will receive before-and-after postcards showing the results of the poster restoration, exclusive invitations to Historical Society events, personal meetings with the conservator who will do the restoration, and behind-the-scenes guided tours of the Society’s Research Center which houses the extensive collection. All donations are fully tax-deductible. 

For more information on the project, please visit

Erich R. Ebel, Marketing and Communications Director
Washington State Historical Society