History Boxes

Washington State Historical Society has been monitoring the status of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region via the Washington State Department of Health, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control in addition to being in close contact with the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office continues to update COVID-19 guidelines for state agencies, such as our own, to support public health as the situation evolves. 

Based upon these guidelines, and our desire to first and foremost protect the health and safety of our community, we have made the decision to cancel history box rentals for the month of March. History boxes are affected because organic materials and artifacts cannot be sanitized without harming the materials. We are temporarily halting additional history box reservations as well. 

We will continue to evaluate the situation and post an update toward the end of March. Please check this page for updates as revisions to this plan may occur based on the most up-to-date public health information.

We apologize for the frustration and disappointment this may cause, and we thank you for your understanding and patience as our region works to limit the impacts of this situation. 

Please contact with questions.

Want a great way to bring the museum into your classroom? Check out one of our History Boxes! Filled with artifacts, images, classroom posters, maps, and curriculum materials, these boxes allow your students to experience history firsthand. We offer five History Boxes, each available for rent — Coast Salish, Frontier Towns, Journey of Lewis and Clark, Makah Culture, One Hundred Years of Women's History, and Ring of Fire: Volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.

Rental Fee: $35 for one week; $10 extra for each additional week.

Because these boxes contain artifacts, someone from your organization must come to the Museum to pick up the box and return it a minimum of 30 minutes before museum closure (5 pm). Pickup is unavailable on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Reserve your history box today. Reservations must be made two weeks in advance.
For more information, contact the Education Department at 253-798-5876.

About Our History Boxes

Click the title of each box for a list of its contents.

Coast Salish

From British Columbia to the mouth of the Columbia, many of Washington’s tribes share the same language. Learn about the culture and lifeways of native peoples like the Twana, Nisqually, and Puyallup from artworks, weavings, and raw materials.  


Frontier Towns

The Frontier Towns box gives students a glimpse of what living on the Washington frontier was like. From trails to rails, your class will explore the Oregon Trail and pioneer life through maps, documents, cookbooks, artifacts and more! 


Journey of Lewis and Clark

Follow the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery as they travel west to the Pacific Ocean. Trade goods and explorers’ journals are among some of the items to be uncovered in the box about this historic journey. 


Makah Culture

Go beyond whaling headlines with your class to study the traditions and stories of the Makah people. A wolf mask, rattle, basket, and drum are among the objects used to share tribal culture in this history box.


One Hundred Years of Women's History

How has life changed for women in Washington over the past century? Your class will delve into the rise of women's suffrage and the changing roles of women in the workplace and society. This box provides a number of standalone activities, artifacts, and media designed to introduce women's history to students. 


Ring of Fire: Volcanoes in Washington State

Explore the historic interaction between the people of Washington and their ever-changing volcanic landscape. Developed in collaboration with Mount Rainier National Park and the United States Geological Survey, this box is a great way to integrate history, science and language arts in the study of Washington’s five volcanoes.