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Events & Programs

See all upcoming events in Explore It! 

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Exhibit Openings

 
 

Thursday Night at the Museums!

Can't visit the museum during the work day or on the weekend? No problem! We're open late until 8pm every Thursday night in March, April, May, and June. Avoid the evening traffic, spend some quality time with your loved ones, and visit one of the participating museums -- the History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, and LeMay - America's Car Museum.
Regular admission applies, except on 3rd Thursdays when admission is free at the History Museum from 2 - 8pm, and at Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass from 5 - 8pm. 
 
 
History Museum Thursday Night at the Museums Schedule: (Times and Themes TBA)

 

  • 1st Thursdays: Family Night with activities provided by the Children's Museum of Tacoma (Activity from 5 - 7pm)
  • 2nd Thursdays: Trivia Night with coffee provided by Anthem Coffee & Tea (Trivia from 6 - 7pm)
  • 3rd Thursdays: Scholarly Selections with UW Tacoma (Presentation starts at 6:30pm)
  • 4th Thursdays: Curator's Corner with museum curators (From 6:30 - 7pm)
 

Coming Up! "When the West Was Wild" at 6:30pm on May 28. (see below)


 

Family Programs

Hunting for Treasures in the Great Hall
Available Tuesday - Sunday during open hours

museoGame
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-directiond activity for everyone. 
 

MUSEO - A Gallery Game for the Whole Family
Available Wednesday - Sunday during open hours.

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

 

 

 

Pawesome Family Fun at the Museum!Semper Fido photo

 Wednesday, July 8
History Museum
Included with Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members
 
 
11am: "Dogs in Service"
Come meet a variety of service canines -- inlcuding a police K-9 unit, certified therapy dogs, and a Prison Pet Partnership canine -- and get the inside scoop on how these dogs are trained and how they serve your community.
 
1pm: "Semper Fido: The Story of Two War Dogs" with Kirby Larson. 
Newbery Honor children's author Kirby Larson talks about the inspiration for her two books featuring military dogs, Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle and Duke, as well as the research involved in bringing these stories to page for young readers. Visitors will also get a glimpse of the War Dog Memorial in Guam, a place Larson visited while doing research for her books. Bring your copies of Ms. Larson's books for a book signing and a Q&A.
 
 
 
 

Family Camps

 

Gold Rush Stampede!Gold rush camp photo

11am - 12:30pm
Wednesday, July, 22
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members
 
There's gold in them hills! Thousands of people went hunting for gold in Alaska, but Seattle was their first stop. Hunt for hiddent reasure and the real story behind the Klondike Gold Rush. All age welcome.
 
 
 
 

Pioneers!Pioneer camp

11am - 12:30pm
Wednesday, July 29
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members
 
Grasshopper plagues, sickness, and pickled pioneers were all part of the drama and danger of traveling the Oregon trail. How did settlers survive the journey west? Discover the pioneer secrets of survival throughout the msueum galleries. All ages welcome. 



 

Exhibit Programs

 



When the West Was WildRodeo for webpage

6:30pm
Thursday, May 28
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members 
 
 
 
 
 
From fabled gunslingers to Seattle "seamstresses," the Northwest's past is full of lively characters. Take off your hats and sit a spell for an "after dark" gallery talk of history and tall tales about Washington in the 1800s.
 
 
 
 

Women of Courage

11am
Saturday, August 22
History Museum 
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members 
 
Hear stories of women who went above and beyond the call in times of war as military historian Alice Miller showcases her extensive collection of uniforms and artifacts and explores the history of women who served in a variety of roles - intelligence, aviation, nursing, and more - to help the wartime effort. 
 
 
 

Music of the Civil War Civil War music photo

1pm
Saturday, August 22
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members 
 
Come enjoy popular songs from the Civil War era performed in period attire by musicians and reenactors Kevin Saville and Andy House-Higgens. 
 
 

Washington in WWII

1pm
Saturday, September 5
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members 
 
MIlitary historian Peter Lahmann displays his collection of WWII equipment and uniforms, and relates the artifacts to personal accounts of the war from members of each branch of the armed forces. He will give a post-presentation gallery tour of the exhibit The American: A Photographic Tribute, and explain the context and history of some of the exhibit's striking photographs. 
 
 
 

Gallery Talks (First Friday of Every Month at 3pm)

 


Gallery Talks are your opportunity to meet exhibit curators and learn little-known information about our exhibits or get a behind-the-scenes perspective.


These programs are included with admission to the History Museum. Free to WSHS Members.

 

 

 
 

History Speaks (Last Tuesday of Every month at 12pm)

 
fu-go

 

May 26: "Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan's Balloon Bomb Attack on America" with Ross Coen. An investigation of the little-known WWII bombing campaign Imperial Japan launched against the United States.

June 30: "The Rich and Varied Legacy of William O. Douglas" with Tom R. Hulst. An examination of the impact of William O. Douglas's legacy on the ideas of privacy, pilgrimage, and place.

July 28: "Returning Home: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Native American Veterans" with Greg Urquhart and Matthew Hale. Impactful discussion of extensive research and development of alternative treatments to address PTSD among Native American veterans.

August 25: "World War II and the Prelude to the Pacific Theater" with Lee Corbin. Hear the story of Tacoma's Robert M. Short, the first American pilot shot down in combat in the Pacific Theater of WWII while flying an armed test plane to China in 1932. 

September 29: "Northwest-Born, Adventure-Raised: The Story of Eddie Bauer" with Colin Berg.

Learn how one man's passion for the outdoors became an international brand's identity, how outdoor adventure has fueled decades of product innovation at Eddie Bauer, and how the first down jacket patented in America set the stage for polar exploration, mountaineering expeditions, and archaeological discoveries. Colin Berg, company historian for Eddie Bauer, will explain all this and more with artifacts and photos from the company's collection.


These programs are included with admission to the History Museum. Free to WSHS Members.




Special Programs & Events

 
 

124th Annual Membership Meeting: June 20Annual meeting calendar image

Save the Date! Members will join us for lunch and a program featuring a state-of-the-organization address

by Director Jennifer Kilmer, awards presentations, and an insightful lecture. Members can expect a formal invitation with additional details by mail this spring. Reservations are highly recommended.
For more information, contact Laura Berry, Development Director, at 253-798-5899 or laura.berry@wshs.wa.gov. 
 
 
 
 
 

Tacoma History Hike

June 28

Register
History Hike Logo
 
 
Grab your sneakers, leash up the dog, and strap the kids into their strollers! It's almost time again to explore downtown Tacoma in an urban scavenger hunt for historical trivia. The event is open to everyone -- coworkers, families, friends, WSHS members, non-members, individuals, teams. Pre-registration guarantees you a free t-shirt. Walk-up registration is also available. Learn more!
 
 
 

Workshop

 

"Understanding Prehistoric Technology: The Prehistory of Hunting in the Pacific Northwest"

1pm
Saturday, August 15
History Museum
Included in Museum Admission
Free to WSHS Members
Pre-Registration Required 
Dan Meatte, Archaeology Program Manager for Washington State Parks, leads an examination of the prehistoric technology used to build and fashion Native American hunting weapons common to the Pacific Northwest. Hundreds of artifacts, weapons, and tools -- representing over 12,000 years of technological change -- are displayed during the class, affording the audience a chance to handle and examine this remarkable equipment up close. Included in museum admission, free to members. Pre-registration is required. Email Dave Beals at dave.beals@wshs.wa.gov to register.
 

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