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   

History After Hours: Candy Barcalendar History after Hours logo
Thursday, February 7, 7:00-10:00 PM
An ages 21+ program
$20 in advance, $25 at the door
$15 for members

This is your chance to learn about Washington State history through tasting sweets, paired with craft beer and wine! Try dessert delicacies while learning from confectioners about each specific company’s history as well as the processes behind creating our state’s most well-known treats. From Aplets and Cotlets to Almond Roca, Washington’s candy history is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Get your tickets HERE

Interested in getting your 2019 History After Hours 4-Pack?!  Get them with your tickets to Candy Bar HERE! For four History After Hours events, you pay just $65! With each event, you get access to all of the museum's exhibits, drink tickets, a commemorative glass, and all of the history and activities you can image!  What are the events this year you might ask...?  How about Candy Bar, (In)Famous Washington, Washington in Spaaace! and Bootleggers' Ball?!  Click HERE to learn more!

Family Saturdays at the History Museum: Write Your Worldfamily
Saturday, February 9, 1:00-3:00 PM
Included with museum admission, FREE for members

Explore how history connects us all during our Family Saturdays. Join a museum facilitator and other families in our galleries to learn about artifacts on view, then make something of your own. 

This activity is designed for children ages 4-12 but all ages are welcome!

Scholarly Selectionsproduce
Ferrying Food: The Story of the Cowlitz Farm
Third Thursday, February 21, 6:30-8:00 PM
FREE and open to the public

The Cowlitz Farm kept the Hudson’s Bay Company supplied with grain and pork from the 1830s-1850s, employing the latest technology to become one of the first corporate farms in the United States. UW Tacoma History B.A. Josiah Pollock will present his award-winning research about the Cowlitz Farm.

Third Thursday Eveningcalendar Third Thurs people in lobby
February 21, 3:00-8:00 PM
Free admission 3:00-8:00 PM

Enjoy all of our exhibitions and a free Scholarly Selections lecture too!


Unlocking the Future: Life after IncarcerationOmari improved
Saturday, March 2, 1:00-3:30 PM
FREE for WSHS members, or Included with admission

Join us at the History Museum for a moderated panel conversation about the challenges and opportunities of re-entry after incarceration. This event is presented in association with the exhibition Unlocking McNeil's Past: The Prison, The Place, The People.

Talk with fellow participants at a reception following the panel discussion. Then, see the exhibition with museum staff available for questions. If you wish, come early and see the exhibition before the panel discussion; the museum opens at 10:00 AM.

Moderator Omari Amili is an author and community leader. He is a 2019 Humanities Washington speaker, presenting From Crime to the Classroom: How Education Changes Lives.

Panel participants: Several of the panelists will talk about their paths to success after incarceration.

Secretary Stephen Sinclair, directs the Washington State Department of Corrections and is a leader in the prison reform/prison sustainability movement.

Dr. Christopher Beasley, University of Washington Tacoma Professor and Director of Post-Prison Education Research Lab; community psychologist; co-founder of the national Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network.

Mr. Shaun Worthy, entrepreneur, youth advocate, ambassador of Positive Change, TedX speaker, owner/founder of IAMWORTHY & ASSOCIATES, LLC.

Ms. Tarra Simmons. attorney; executive director of Civil Survival; Governor Appointee to the Public Defense Advisory Board and the Statewide Reentry Council where she serves as co-chair.

Mr. Christopher Johnston, recipient of the University of Washington 2017 Dean’s Leadership Award, Husky Volunteer Award, and Gift of Service Award; South Seattle College instructor; poet and singer.

Exhibition Preview Party: A Thousand Words’ Worth
Thursday, March 7, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
FREE for members; $15.00 for not-yet-members, includes reception and admission

This is your chance to meet and greet visiting Washington authors and celebrate a very special exhibition. Authors from around the state in multiple genres did a deep dive into the Washington State Historical Society’s collections and selected objects with which to tell stories. These object stories are paired with the author’s words, too. Enjoy appetizers and refreshments, hear from the authors, and be among the first to see this original exhibition.

Family Saturdays at the History Museum: Write Your Worldfamily
Saturday, March 9, 1:00-3:00 PM
Included with museum admission, FREE for members

Explore how history connects us all during our Family Saturdays. Join a museum facilitator and other families in our galleries to learn about artifacts on view, then make something of your own.
This month’s Family Saturday features a writing activity inspired by our new exhibit, A Thousand Words’ Worth: Washington Authors Tell Stories with Objects. In this exhibit, Washington authors selected objects and ephemera from the Historical Society’s collections to tell stories without words.
This activity is designed for children ages 4-12 but all ages are welcome!

Women’s History Wikithon Wiki Edit-a-thon image
Saturday, March 9, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
Washington State History Museum
FREE. Please register in advance. Includes museum admission and snacks; bring a sack lunch.

Scholars and interested citizens are invited to come together for an afternoon of collaboration to create or improve Wikipedia pages related to Washington State’s suffrage history. Learn from seasoned “Wikipedians” how to edit wiki pages, and work in small groups with women’s history experts. Honor Women’s History Month by updating our reference materials to reflect the dedicated work of Washington’s women suffragists. Bring a brown bag lunch, we’ll provide snacks. Hosted by Washington State Historical Society. Register at

Register here.

Tacoma Louder Than a Bomb Teen Poetry Festival: Preliminaries
Friday, March 15, 16 & 17, time TBD
FREE for program participants

The History Museum is thrilled to host the preliminary rounds for Write 253’s annual teen poetry festival. Hear teen-created poetry from schools throughout the South Puget Sound as these talented students present and compete for spots in the poetry festival finals.

History Happy Hour Trivia: Tacomacalendar Trivia Night
Wednesday, March 20, 6:00-8:00 PM
The Swiss Restaurant & Pub
1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma
All ages welcome! No cost to play.

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, and Tacoma Historical Society. Facts, fun and prizes aplenty!

Third Thursday Evening
March 21, 3:00-8:00 PM
FREE admission 3:00-8:00 PM

Enjoy all of our exhibitions!

Scholarly Selections:
It's The End Of The World As We Know It: Young Adult Dystopias In Popular CultureScholarly Selections

Thursday, April 18, 6:30 PM

Dystopian novels have been part of the literary landscape for many years. Today, dystopian fiction is one of the most popular genres in the booming young adult literature market, and series such as The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner are increasingly read by adults as well. In this talk, UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Andrea Modarres will explore the popularity of dystopian fiction written for young adults, asking: What qualifies as dystopian? Why it is such a favorite genre for readers of all ages? And how do dystopian novels use fictional settings to express fears or anxieties about real-world issues? 

Scholarly Selections:
From Emily Dickinson to Lucinda Williams: Women Speaking Truth to Power through
Poetry and MusicScholarly Selections
Thursday, May 16, 6:30 PM

Join UW Tacoma Senior Lecturer Nicole Blair for a discussion of the roots of Americana music by women, focusing on two examples: Emily Dickinson and Lucinda Williams. Blair will argue that poets like Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, and Emily Dickinson, paved the way for songwriters like Brandi Carlile, Rhiannon Giddens, and Lucinda Williams. She will discuss how Americana music provides female singer-songwriters with a way to express their lived experiences, which not only empowers women, but uplifts society as a whole.



A Gallery Game for the Whole Family

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

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