Events & Programs

Purchase Tickets

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   

Blue Star Museums program Blue Star Museums logo
FREE admission for active duty military and families

May 29-September 2, 2018

The History Museum is participating in the annual Blue Star Museums program, offering free admission to active duty military and up to five family members.

Free admission is available to any active duty bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent card), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty US military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps), along with up to five family members. 

Make/Do Preview PartyMakeDo Preview Party
Thursday, July 12, 6:30-8:30 PM
Washington State History Museum

Be among the first to see the History Museum’s newest exhibition featuring upcycled artwork and artifacts from throughout Washington’s history. Hear gallery talks every half hour and meet some of the featured artists and innovative makers! Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and sip drinks from the no-host bar. Try your own hand at repurposing in our makerspace, hosted by Earthwise Architectural Salvage.

Tickets are just $15 each, but FREE for members! Be sure to register in advance here!

IN THE SPIRIT Artist Gallery TalkITS Emerson thumbnail
Third Thursday, July 19, 5:30-6:30 PM
Washington State History Museum

This special gallery talk is an opportunity for visitors to hear directly from some of the artists featured in the exhibition. See their contemporary works up close while they describe their inspiration and share about their creative processes, influences, and practice. The 2018 In The Spirit Contemporary Native Arts exhibition features 29 works by 21 artists.

The museum offers free Third Thursday admission 3:00-8:00 PM generously supported by Columbia Bank.

IN THE SPIRIT Northwest Native Arts FestivalITS youth performer thumbnail
August 11, 12:00-7:00 PM
Jointly hosted by Washington State History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum
FREE community festival

The FREE festival and arts market is a community favorite! Shop for handmade Native arts and meet the artists. Enjoy song, dance, music, food, and a runway fashion show featuring Native designers. See Native art exhibitions. 
Don't miss a performance by the band Khu.éex’ (pronounced koo-eex), co-founded by artist and musician Preston Singletary who plays bass in the band. Khu.éex’ translates to “Potlatch” in the Tlingit language. The band shares culture, stories, and music through contemporary interpretations focused on empowering others. The Seattle Times (Paul de Barros) described Khu.éex’ as "...mixing Native American song and spoken word with atmospheric, visionary jazz improvisation in a way that recalls the ecstatic ’70s jazz-funk work of groups like Weather Report or Carlos Santana."  
Admission to both museums and the festival is FREE. See for a schedule of events. 

3rd annual Kids' Maker Market
Third Thursday, August 16, 4:00-7:00 PM
Washington State History Museum
Ages 4-18 can apply to be a market vendor
youth maker market

Entrepreneurial makers ages 4-18 are invited to bring their hand-crafted items to sell at a special Kids' Maker Market, inspired by the exhibition Make/Do: A History of Creative Reuse

The Kids' Maker Market will be held on August 16, Free Third Thursday, from 4:00-7:00 PM. This is an opportunity for youth to experience the creative process, bring their ideas to life, and exercise business skills. Local maker Allison Stewart Bishins of Handmade PNW is organizing this event for the History Museum. Tables can be rented for $10.00. Interested artists and makers can apply here

For visitors who want to make something of their own, Tinkertopia will be on hand with a craft table. Shoppers can also enjoy snacks while they peruse the kids' art and items available for sale.

Questions? Please email Allison at

Cold Frame Seed Box Making Workshop 
September 20, 6:00-8:00 PM 
Washington State History Museum 
Cost: $15

Join us at the History Museum with special guests from Earthwise Architectural Salvage for a cold frame seed box making workshop. Fashion your box out of a vintage window for a beautiful and functional addition to your garden. Be sure to register early to ensure your spot! Email to sign up.

2018 Historical Society Awards Luncheon
September 22, 11:30 AM-2:00 PM
Cost: $30.00

It is because of support from members and donors that the Society can collect, preserve and share the priceless evidence of our past. You are our partners exploring how history connects us across the state of Washington. So please save the date for your 2018 Historical Society Awards Luncheon.

Honoring the WWI Centennial, this year’s program will feature a special exhibition and guest speaker. See fascinating photos of messages carved into the trenches in France by soldiers from Washington, and find out more about what happened on the home front and the legacy of WWI in our state. Connect with history through hands-on activities. Enjoy a delicious light lunch while you hear from notable honorees receiving the Society’s annual History Awards and hear the state of your Historical Society from the Director.

Tickets are $30 each. For more information please contact Lianna Shepherd at or call (253)798-5899.


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