New grant provides state history museum with better educational tools, updated exhibits


TACOMA… The Washington State Historical Society is proud to announce it has been awarded a grant from The Boeing Company. The funds will be used to enhance the visitor experience at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. 

“This generous gift from Boeing will allow us to improve educational opportunities for children through our facilitated History Lab learning space, as well as move forward with updates to the Great Hall of Washington History,” said Historical Society Director Jennifer Kilmer. 

In the History Lab, the Historical Society will integrate not only valuable input by teachers but also best practices outlined by the museum education community as critical to better connecting with audiences. This grant-funded project will also allow the Historical Society to serve more groups concurrently, at a broader range of grade levels and with a multitude of topics that encourage repeat visits. 

In the museum’s permanent gallery – a 10,000 square foot exhibition dedicated to the history of Washington State – support from Boeing will enable the Historical Society to develop an interpretive plan that allows greater personal engagement by museum visitors.  As renovations are made, the interpretive plan will provide an invaluable resource for cohesive exhibit design while better aligning with the Historical Society’s mission to partner with our communities to explore how history connects us all.

“One of our key goals is to provide learners with the opportunity to actively engage with historical topics through artifact exploration and critical thinking activities that link the past to the present,” said Dr. Leah Melber, the museum’s Director of Audience Engagement, who is overseeing the History Lab reprogramming and the Great Hall’s interpretive plan development. “It’s this active exploration and connection to topics of personal relevance that make learning the most dynamic and impactful.”

Boeing, its employees and retirees contribute more than $50 million annually to approximately 200 Washington organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people in this state. The company and its employees support innovative partnerships and programs that align with their strategic objectives, create value and help build better communities. This includes improving access to globally competitive learning as well as workforce and skills development, sustaining the environment and supporting military and veteran communities. 

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.