Events & Programs

See all upcoming events in Explore It! 

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Cancellation: Film Screening: "Witness to Revolution"


Exhibit Opening


Living in the Shadows: Volcanoes of Washington State
Opens January 31, 2015

Living in the Shadows logo small

Public Opening: 11 - 2pm on January 31
Come shake, rattle, and roll with curators and specialists who live to study some of nature's  most dangerous features -- volcanoes of the Pacific Rim.
Special Members Preview Event: 5 - 7:30pm on January 29
Members are invited to experience and learn more about what it means to live in the shadows of active volcanoes. Watch your mailbox for an invitation with details. 
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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.


History Speaks (After December, this series is moving to the last Tuesday of the month at 12pm)

  • December 10: "Tacoma's Historic Pythian Temple"
  • January 27: "Letters from America: Researching the Last of the Blacksmiths" with author Claire Gebben. Learn about the elaborate process of translating letters, researching trades, and finding one's voice amidst the bustle and boom of early American industry.
  • February 24: "Touchy Subjects: Controversy and Conflict in Museums" with Stephanie Lile, Head of Education at WSHM. How do museums deal with historic and artistic controversy? The subject matter will travel the world to discuss short case studies of museums far and wide, and ultimately bring it back to our own community.
  • March 31: "Gypsy & June: Causing Havoc in the Great Depression and Beyond" with Gwen Whiting. Gypsy Rose Lee and her sister June Havoc were made immortal in the Broadway play and subsequent movie Gypsy. Their real lives, however, were far more colorful than anything Hollywood could dream up. Take a backstage peek into history from the Great Depression to the Red Scare and learn more about mayhem, mystery, and possibly murder. 

These programs are included with admission to the History Museum. 


Scholarly Selections (Third Thursday of Every Month at 6:30pm)


Pink Floyd

  • November 20: "Another Nature: Re-imagining the Green Poem" with Janie Miller, full-time lecturer, IAS, University of Washington Tacoma
  • December 18: "Deconstructing The Wall: Pink Floyd and Post-War Angst" with Elizabeth "Libi" Sundermann, PhD, full-time lecturer in history at University of Washington Tacoma
  • January 15: "News-mediated Narratives of Disappearance: Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, Natalee Holloway, and Conventions of Dead Women in the News" presented by Joanne Clarke Dillman, lecturer at UWT
  • February 19: "Exploring Contemporary Oceanic Art Through the Work of Pacific Islander Artists" with Jewel Castro, lecturer at UWT
  • March 19: "Framing Disaster: How News Media Covered the 'Twilight Tribe' and the Lower Elwha Klallam People in their Struggle for Environmental Justice" with Ellen Moore, lecturer at UWT

These programs are free and open to the public, and are presented in partnership with University of Washington Tacoma. 


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