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Events & Programs

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See all upcoming events in the Explore It! quarterly newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, programs are included with museum admission, or FREE to WSHS Members. For more information, contact Molly Wilmoth at 253-798-5926 or molly.wilmoth@wshs.wa.gov.

IN THE SPIRIT Artist Gallery TalkIn The Spirit logo for calendar
July 18, 6:00-7:00 PM
Washington State History Museum
FREE and open to the public

Meet and hear from artist Samuel Stitt, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, whose work Certificate of Degree of Caucasian Blood is featured in this juried exhibition of contemporary Native art. See his work as he describes his  inspiration and artistic practices. 

Words from Stitt about Certificate of Degree of Caucasian Blood, 2019

"The issue of blood quantum and identity is quite complex—contentious even. So, with this tongue-in-cheek piece, I’d like to grab the attention of viewers or make them chuckle. I’m hoping some folks ask, 'What is a Certificate of Degree of Caucasian Blood?' And that may even trigger some further curiosity. Some might even do a little Google searching and find that Native blood quantum is tracked and cataloged to an amazing degree. The model for this humorous card is based on the very real Certification of Degree of Indian Blood, or CDIB. Further, they may discover this rather tenuous method of blood quantum is currently used to define identity or status. Basically, this piece is saying, 'What if the shoe was on the other foot?' How many people on the face of the earth have their blood tracked by an official government agency in such a manner?"


Third Thursday Evening calendar Third Thurs people in lobby
Thursday July 18
FREE admission 3:00-8:00 PM

Enjoy all of our exhibitions. Stop at Anthem Cafe to enjoy a beverage outdoors and take in the view of the museum district!


Elks Temple History Pub: Shipwrecks, Legends, Calendar History Pub logo McMenamins
and Lost Treasures
Presented by Scott Williams, Archeologist
Tuesday August 6, doors open 5:30 PM,
program 7:00-9:00 PM
McMenamins Elks Temple at 565 Broadway, Tacoma
FREE and open to the public, all ages welcome. 

The north Oregon coast abounds with tales of mysterious shipwrecks, lost castaways, pirates, and sailing vessels. Join Scott Williams to hear historical and archaeological evidence for shipwrecks and survivors pre-dating European and American exploration of the Pacific Northwest. Scott  is the Cultural Resources Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation, managing agency’s archaeology and history program. He's also the lead archaeologist for the Maritime Archaeological Society’s Beeswax Wreck Project, and will talk about their 10-year effort to locate the Beeswax Wreck, a Spanish Manila galleon that wrecked in Tillamook County near the Nehalem River.


IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native FestivalITS logo
August 10, 12:00 – 7:00PM
History Museum, Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum
FREE and open to the public

This annual FREE family festival and arts market is a community favorite! Hosted by the Washington State History Museum. Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum, this indoor/outdoor festival celebrates the diverse Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. All three museums offer FREE admission for the day, and feature exhibitions of work by Indigenous artists. 

Shop for handmade Native arts and meet the artists from 12:00-5:00 PM, while you also enjoy song, dance, music, food, and a runway fashion show featuring Native designers. Don't miss the special after-party with Preston Singletary’s band, Khu.eex’ at the History Museum’s outdoor amphitheater from 5:30-7:00PM. 

See InTheSpirit.org for more details.


Family Saturdays at IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Arts FestivalFamily Saturday
August 10, 1:00-3:00 PM
FREE

The History Museum will offer family-friendly guided drop-in activities from 1:00-3:00 during the In the Spirit Northwest Native Festival. Hands-on projects are inspired by Native artists. 

Family Saturday events feature activities inspired by local history and are scheduled from 1:00-3:00 PM on the second Saturday of each month. Activities are designed for children ages 4-12 but all ages are welcome!


Japanese American Community Resource Scanning DayEO9066
August 15, 3:00-7:00 PM
FREE and open to the public

The Washington State History Museum is developing a new exhibition about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII as a result of Executive Order 9066. We are looking for resources in our community to help tell this story. Is this legacy part of your story?  Please bring any relevant photographs, letters, documents, drawings or pamphlets to scan, share, and add to the archive. We will provide you with the digitized version of your articles and return your original materials. 

This will be the first of several Japanese American resource scanning event in collaboration with Densho Digital Repositories. 

Sign up for a scheduled scanning time in advance by contacting Gwen Whiting at gwen.whiting@wshs.wa.gov or 253-798-5927. Find out more on our website at WashingtonHistory.org/9066.


Elks Temple History PubCalendar History Pub logo McMenamins
September 3, 7:00-9:00 PM, doors at 6:00 PM
McMenamins Elks Temple at 565 Broadway, Tacoma
FREE and open to the public, all ages welcome.

Join us the first Tuesday of every month for History Pub at McMenamins Elks Temple. We’re back for the next program and a deeper dive into a pint of history! Enjoy the Spanish Ballroom and novel historical tales while you sip and savor. McMenamins offers 15% off rooms for the evening when you come for History Pub, too.


Family Saturdays at the History Museum: Navigating the MuseumFamily Saturday
September 14, 1:00-3:00 PM
Included with museum admission, FREE for members

Use exploration techniques to navigate a treasure hunt around the museum. Chart your journey and jot down observations in your own explorer’s journal. 

Family Saturday events feature hands-on activities inspired by local history. These events are scheduled from 1:00-3:00 on the second Saturday of each month. Activities are designed for children ages 4-12 but all ages are welcome!


History Happy Hour Trivia/file_viewer.aspx?id=4896calendar Trivia Night
September 18, 6:00-8:00 PM
The Swiss Restaurant & Pub
1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma
FREE, all ages welcome!

Test your Tacoma and Washington State trivia knowledge with the Washington State Historical Society, City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Tacoma Historical Society, and Tacoma Public Library. Facts, fun, and prizes aplenty! Food and beverages available for purchase.


Japanese American Community Resource Scanning DayEO9066
September 19, 3:00-7:00 PM
History Museum
FREE and open to the public

The Washington State History Museum is developing a new exhibition about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII as a result of Executive Order 9066. We are looking for resources in our community to help tell this story. Is this legacy part of your story?  Please bring any relevant photographs, letters, documents, drawings or pamphlets to scan, share, and add to the archive. We will provide you with the digitized version of your articles and return your original materials. 

This will be the first of several Japanese American resource scanning event in collaboration with Densho Digital Repositories. 

Sign up for a scheduled scanning time in advance by contacting Gwen Whiting at gwen.whiting@wshs.wa.gov or 253-798-5927. Find out more on our website at WashingtonHistory.org/9066.


Third Thursday Evening calendar Third Thurs people in lobby
September 19, 3:00-8:00 PM
History Museum
FREE and open to the public

Enjoy free admission and see all of our exhibitions, including Little Black Dress and A New Moon Rises. 


History After Hours: Washington In Spaaacecalendar History after Hours logo
Thursday October 10, 7:00-10:00 PM
History Museum
$15 members, $20 non-members advance tickets, $25 at the door 

Explore the traveling Smithsonian exhibition A New Moon Rises and learn about Washington's role in the space race. We'll have space related activities and crafts too as well as the usual games and hijinks. Sip some out-of-this-world beverages from Three Magnets Brewing and Chateau Ste. Michelle while you have fun with friends and meet new history-lovers. 
This is an ages 21+ event. Experience the History Museum after-hours!
Tickets include two complimentary beverages, access to all exhibitions (also on view: Little Black Dress), crafts and activities. $15 for members, $20 advance tickets for non-members, and $25 at the door.


Museo

A Gallery Game for the Whole Family
TUESDAY – SUNDAY

Designed for four to eight players, MUSEO is a Bingo-style game of discovery in the Great Hall of Washington History. Ask for a packet at the information desk and let the sleuthing begin.

More for Kids

Treasure Hunting

In the Great Hall
AVAILABLE TUESDAY – SUNDAY

Ever seen a gold nugget, a plutonium core, or an ox yoke? Keen-eyed young visitors are encouraged to pick up a treasure hunter’s challenge at the information desk and explore the Great Hall’s not-so-hidden treasures of Washington pictured there. A fun, self-directed activity for everyone.

More about the Great Hall

Model Railroad Operators' Hours

FIRST SATURDAY of every month
11 AM - 4PM

The Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers (PSMRE), the all-volunteer organization that operates the History Museum's permanent model railroad exhibit, holds a special Operators' Hours event on the first Saturday of every month. Operators' Hours is an opportunity to watch the masters at work and ask questions of the model railroad experts!

Model Train Festival