Purchase TicketsBook a Field TripBecome a memberTelling the story of Washington's history includes highlighting the characters and events that have affected the growth of our area. From the tale of women's suffrage, to the mystery of D.B. Cooper, to the impacts of Executive Order 9066, to Northwest citizens and the Cold War, and so much more, the Washington State History Museum provides in-depth exhibitions full of artifacts, ephemera, stories, and images that enrich your visitor experience.

Current featured exhibitions:

Witness Hero

"What comes through more than anything else in the show is a sense of dogged if not joyful resilience. Fujii refused to surrender to the tragic circumstances in which he found himself ensnared ... As an artist, he was unstoppable ... he transformed incarceration in a dreary encampment ... into what is now one of the most important documents of the American experience." - Dave Davison, Tacoma Weekly, 9/22/17

See the beautiful, revealing works of artist Takuichi Fujii, who came to Washington in 1906. He married and started a family in Seattle. During World War II, Fujii was incarcerated at Minidoka, Idaho, for three and a half years, during which time he continued to create. Fujii's drawings and paintings documented, and powerfully convey, this tragic chapter in American history. This exhibition is based on a recent book by Barbara Johns, "The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness.

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Loyal Opposition hero

See the compelling work of self-taught Washington photojournalist George P. Hickey, who recently donated a substantial body of prints and negatives to Washington State Historical Society. Hickey’s protest photographs have appeared in The Stranger, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Real Change, and other notable publications.  

Join us for a Gallery Talk with photojournalist George P. Hickey on Third Thursday, November 16, 5:30 PM.

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G and G website banner

Glasnost & Goodwill presents a fascinating look at how Northwest citizens helped to thaw the Cold War through grassroots diplomacy. Visitors will see artifacts from the Goodwill Games, the Earth Day 20 International Peace Climb on Mount Everest, and more. Visit the History Museum this fall and winter to learn about how the extraordinary efforts of ordinary people across two continents achieved change during the 1950s-1990s.

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WA My Home


“It has rained nearly every day since I have been here and yet I like it,” Anaximander Tutton wrote to his family in South Dakota shortly after his arrival in Washington. His story and those of many others are part of Washington: My Home, the all-new exhibit opening in the Great Hall of Washington History this summer. Through oral histories and artifacts, this permanent exhibit explores migration and immigration through the experiences of diverse individuals who, over time, have come to live in Washington. 

Visitors first glimpse the Arrival Windows, illuminating images of people who call Washington home. Next to the windows are stories of arrival, belonging, and dramatic journeys. These accounts range from the 1840s with the first African American family to arrive in Washington Territory to 2015 when the first family of Syrian refugees settled in Seattle, with many others in between.

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Permanent Exhibits

The Great Hall

Our largest exhibit at the Washington State History Museum, The Great Hall of Washington History is a walk through time. This year-round space showcases some of our earliest history with the Clovis Points and a variety of artifacts from Native American civilization and culture, and explains the progression through statehood including industrialization, the war and post-war eras, women's suffrage, and more. Allow at least two hours to fully absorb the material in the Great Hall of Washington History.
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History Lab

The History Lab Learning Center engages visitors with interactive exhibits featuring historical concepts such as Time, Place, Viewpoint, Exploration, and Precedent. In the learning center, visitors of all ages are encouraged to use the Tools of the History Trade (artifacts, ephemera, books and periodicals, people, maps, and images) to think like detectives in search of evidence. The History Lab exhibit is on the fifth floor of the History Museum.

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Model Railroad

Don your conductor's cap and climb aboard the History Museum's own model railroad. Watch history being made as the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers club continues construction on the 1,800-square-foot permanent layout depicting the rail lines from Tacoma's Point Defiance Park to the Stampede Pass tunnel in the Cascades. Join us when we celebrate model trains with our annual Model Train Festival.

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