Events & Programs

Purchase Tickets

See all upcoming events in the Explore It! quarterly newsletter.
Unless otherwise noted, these programs are included with admission to the History Museum or $5 for program-only admission. Free to WSHS Members. For more information, contact Dave Beals at 253-798-5879 or


History Happy Hour Trivia Night: Tacoma
at the Swiss Restaurant & PubHistory Happy Hour: Tacoma
1904 Jefferson Ave.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
6:00 PM

We're back again with the City of Tacoma's Historic Preservation Office and Tacoma Historical Society to bring you the most intriguing, exciting, and outright weird trivia about your city and state!

Test your knowledge and compete for prizes and the Washington trivia throne in this all-ages trivia night!


Friday Football Flick: Brian's Song
Friday, June 23, 2017Brian's Song
7:00 PM

Flash back to the 1970s with this classic true-to-life tale of friendship and bonding between NFL players in the face of heartbreaking circumstances. Starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. Rated G, but bring your tissues!

Pay what you can; concessions will be available for purchase.

Football 360: An All-Angles Look at the NFL Experience
Thursday, June 29, 2017Football 360: An All-Angles Look at the NFL Experience
7:00 PM 

Find out what it is like to be part of the NFL!

Get an insider's viewpoint from
former players, sports writers, and sports officials,
at the History Museum’s expert panel discussion moderated by Bill Baarsma. Learn about getting drafted, the team experience, trading and officiating.

Panelists include:

• Moderator: Bill Baarsma – Former Tacoma mayor and long-time member of the Tacoma Athletic Commission. President of the Tacoma Historical Society.
• Ron Medved – Former NFL defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles (1966 to 1970). Medved played football for UW before his professional career.
• Randy Van Divier – Former NFL offensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts (1981) and the LA Raiders (1982). Van Divier played for UW before being drafted into the NFL.
• Ian Allen – Senior writer for Fantasy Football Index magazine based in Seattle. Attended UW where he received his degree in journalism.
• Mike Sando – National NFL columnist for ESPN Insider, who also covered the Seattle Seahawks for nine seasons for the Tacoma News Tribune.
• Aaron Pointer – NFL officiant from 1987 to 2003 and current Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma Board Commission. Pointer first entered professional sports as a baseball player in the 1960s.
• Buddy Horton – Current NFL officiant who began his career in 1999 and is a local Tacoman.

Included with museum admission, or $5 for program-only admission.

Summer Youth Docent Program
Applications due Wednesday, July 5
Program runs Monday, July 17 through Tuesday, August 22, 2017
For students entering grades 8 throgh 11 in fall 2017. 

This summer, immerse yourself in the world of the History Museum!
You’ll discover how exhibits are created. You’ll delve into Washington state history. You’ll welcome visitors and share information about artifacts. But you’ll take away much more than that. You’ll learn valuable life
• Gain volunteer experience to prepare you for your first, or next job.
• Develop the art of working with others: supervisors, team members, and the general public.
• Strengthen your research abilities.
• Receive direct mentoring from experienced museum professionals.

Download full details and an application here. Space is limited. Get your application postmarked by midnight on July 5, 2017 and join us for this exciting new program.  


2-Pint Conversion
Thursday, July 13, 20172-Pint Conversion: Beer Tastings and Tailgate Party
7:00 - 10:00 PM

Adults-only tailgate-style party at the History Museum. Tickets include two beverages from a local craft brewery, a collectible beverage cover, indoor lawn games and other fun activities, plus an opportunity to explore the exhibit! 

$15 advance registration, $20 at the door. Check back here for registration information.
Admission fee includes entrance to the exhibits and activities, two football-themed beers, and a commemorative beer cover.


Friday Football Flick: Invincible
Friday, July 28, 2017Invincible
9:00 PM 

Gather in the museum’s outdoor amphitheater for Gridiron Glory exhibition trivia. Then, get inspired by the true story of Vince Papale (played by Mark Wahlberg), a lifelong football fan and bartender whose wildest dream comes true when he becomes a Philadelphia Eagle! Rated PG. 

Pay as you can, concessions available for purchase.


Gridiron Gauntlet
Saturday, August 5, 2017Gridiron Gauntlet
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

This youth activity day will test kids' skills through the same athletic activities used to test future NFL pros. The event kicks off at the History Museum at 10:00 AM, and the activities are held on-site at the History Museum and at the University of Washington Tacoma’s Y Student Center. Each kid athlete will receive a "Player Profile" card to record their scores. Drop in anytime during the event to participate in the free activities.

Partners include YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

IN THE SPIRIT: Northwest Native Festival
Saturday, August 19, 2017In the Spirit: Northwest Native Festival
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

This FREE family festival and arts market is a community favorite! This year, Washington State Historical Society and Tacoma Art Museum have teamed up to bring you an even bigger, better event. Shop for handcrafted Native American arts and crafts and meet the artists. Enjoy song, dance, music, food, and a runway fashion show featuring Native American designers. Celebrate the creativity of diverse indigenous cultures. The festival takes place indoors and outdoors. Admission to both museums is FREE. See for more details.

To the Limit: Health and Safety in a High-Impact Game
Thursday, September 7, 2017To the Limit: Health and Safety in a High-Impact Game
7:00 PM

Join us for "To the Limit: Health and Safety in a High-Impact Game" — a panel discussion focused on the evolution of safety in sports, particularly football. 

Included with museum admission, or $5 program-only admission.



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