Washington State Historical Society invites you to their 125th birthday Oct. 8

TACOMA… It isn’t every year that an organization gets to celebrate a quasquicentennial – that is, its 125th birthday. That’s why the Washington State Historical Society is pulling out all the stops for its Oct. 8 birthday bash at the history museum in Tacoma. The party from noon to 5 p.m. will be one-and-a-quarter-centuries in the making. 

“In 1891, a group of Tacoma citizens decided to establish the Washington State Historical Society and we’ve been preserving, collecting and sharing the stories from our state ever since,” said Erich Ebel, the Society’s marketing and communications director. “It’s fascinating to see how the Society has evolved into its different iterations over the years: from becoming a trustee agency of the state in 1903 to merging with the Ferry Museum in 1911, and publishing the first issue of our award-winning magazine COLUMBIA: The Magazine of Northwest History in 1987 to the opening of the magnificent Washington State History Museum in 1996. If history tells us anything, it’s that the next 125 years are likely to be quite a journey, and we look forward to taking everyone in Washington with us.” 

Attendees can expect to participate in family-friendly activity stations spaced throughout the museum, each with a craft or project for kids to complete. At 12 p.m., visitors can hear a gallery talk from Len Balli, curator of the museum’s newest exhibit, “A Revolution You Can Dance To: Indie Music in the Northwest.” Music by DJ Action Slacks will liven up the party as costumed interpreters from Seattle costume guild Somewhere in Time Unlimited roam the museum chatting with guests. There will also be trivia throughout the afternoon. 

Around 2:30 p.m., the Historical Society will serve birthday cake on the mezzanine and draw the winner of The Great Washington Heritage Geo-Adventure geocaching contest. The costumed interpreters will follow with a fashion show and discussion about the history of each garment worn and the era from which it came. Lastly, the museum’s Lead Curator Gwen Whiting will present a gallery talk on the history of the Washington State Historical Society: 125 Years of Collecting and Connecting. 

The Washington State History Museum, located at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission for members is always free. Paid admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors, students and active duty or retired military with ID, and free for children under 5. Patrons with a Washington Quest card can attend for $1 per person or $2 per family. Admission is free after 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month when the museum stays open until 8 p.m.