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

Elks Temple History Pub:
The Olmsted Landscape Legacy Across America and the Pacific NorthwestCalendar History Pub logo McMenamins

September 3, 7:00-8:30 PM, doors at 5:30 PM
McMenamins Elks Temple at 565 Broadway, Tacoma
FREE and open to the public, all ages welcome.

Join us the first Tuesday of every month for History Pub at McMenamins Elks Temple. 

We’re back for the next program and a deeper dive into a pint of history! Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was the leading landscape architect of his generation, and is hailed as the founder of American landscape architecture. Most recognized for his design of Central Park, Frederick, his two sons and the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architecture Firm left a huge imprint all across America (including right here in Tacoma!). 

Laurence Cotton, a Portland-based public historian, will present a film screening and a talk that will detail the Olmsted legacy with special focus on John Charles Olmsted's impact in the Pacific Northwest. 
About T-Town ... In 1873, Charles B. Wright, President of the Tacoma Land Company invited Frederick Law Olmsted to submit plans for laying out the city of Tacoma. You can view an original of this colorful Olmsted plan in the Northwest Room of the downtown Tacoma Public Library!

Food and drinks available for purchase. Enjoy the Spanish Ballroom and learn while you sip and savor. Enter the code HISTORY2019 to receive a 15% discount on rooms for the evening, courtesy of McMenamins. 

Family Saturdays at the History Museum: Navigating the MuseumFamily Saturday
September 14, 1:00-3:00 PM
Included with museum admission, FREE for members

Use exploration techniques to navigate a treasure hunt around the museum. Chart your journey and jot down observations in your own explorer’s journal. 

Family Saturday events feature hands-on activities inspired by local history. These events are scheduled from 1:00-3:00 on the second Saturday of each month. Activities are designed for children ages 4-12 but all ages are welcome!

History Happy Hour Triviacalendar Trivia Night
September 18, 6:00-8:00 PM
The Swiss Restaurant & Pub
1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma
FREE, all ages welcome!

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, Tacoma Historical Society, and Tacoma Public Library. Facts, fun, and prizes aplenty! Food and beverages available for purchase.

Japanese American Community Resource Scanning DayEO9066
September 19, 3:00-7:00 PM
History Museum
FREE and open to the public

The Washington State History Museum is developing a new exhibition about the Japanese American experience in Washington  during the time leading up to WWII and Executive Order 9066, the immediate impacts, post-incarceration relocation, and the lasting legacy of EO 9066 through today. We are looking for resources in our community to help tell this story. 

Is this legacy part of your story?  Please bring relevant photographs, letters, documents, drawings, paintings, diaries, journals, flyers, pamphlets or other items to scan, share, and add to the archive. In collaboration with Densho, we will scan your items on the spot and return them to you, along with a thank you gift of a 2 gb thumb drive with your scans and archival emvelopes for storing your materials. 

Sign up for a scheduled scanning time in advance here ( or call Lead Curator Gwen Whiting at 253-798-5927. Find out more on our website at

Third Thursday Evening calendar Third Thurs people in lobby
September 19, 3:00-8:00 PM
History Museum
FREE and open to the public

Enjoy free admission and see all of our exhibitions, including Little Black Dress and A New Moon Rises. 

History After Hours: Washington In Spaaacecalendar History after Hours logo
Thursday October 10, 7:00-10:00 PM
History Museum
$15 members, $20 non-members advance tickets, $25 at the door 

Explore the exhibition A New Moon Rises and learn about Washington's role in the space race. See our collection of retro-futuristic space-age artifacts too! We'll have space related activities and crafts as well as the usual games and hijinks. Sip some out-of-this-world beverages from Three Magnets Brewing and Chateau Ste. Michelle while you have fun with friends and meet new history-lovers. 
This is an ages 21+ event. Experience the History Museum after-hours!
Tickets include two complimentary beverages, access to the exhibition A New Moon Rises and all the other fun crafts and activities. $15 for members, $20 advance for non-members, and $25 at the door. 

Don't delay, book your tix today! 


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