Events & Programs
See all upcoming events in the Explore It! quarterly newsletter
Full STEAM Ahead - A K-12 Educator Workshop
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Tacoma’s Museum District brings you creative new ways to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics into your classroom, with a focus on environmental sustainability. Educators from Foss Waterway Seaport, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum provide engaging, hands-on workshops. Registration includes 5 clock hours, lunch, lesson plans, parking, and admission to each museum. Click here for more information on this event.
Film Screening – Love and Solidarity
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Join us for a screening of the documentary Love and Solidarity: Rev. James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers' Rights, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, civil rights and labor historian Michael K. Honey. The film explores the impact of nonviolence in social justice movements through an examination of the life and teachings of civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson.
Film Screening – Eyes of the Totem
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Come to the museum for a screening of the film Eyes of the Totem. The movie, filmed and produced in Tacoma in 1926 by H. C. Weaver Studios, was considered lost to history until it was recently located in the archives of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Historian Michael Sullivan will introduce the film and discuss the historical context of its creation.
Watch a trailer for Eyes of the Totem
MUSEO - A Gallery Game for the Whole Family
Wednesday through Sunday
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!
Hunting for Treasures in the Great Hall
Tuesday through 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.
Washington Story Time and Artifact Investigation
Every Second Thursday
Stop by the museum at 3pm the second Thursday of every month to hear a children's story featuring Washington and the Pacific Northwest. After each story time, we'll unveil and investigate a Mystery Artifact of the Month.
Family Camp: Pioneers!
April 6, 2016
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Stop by to explore the stories and lifestyles of early pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail with hands-on activities, crafts, and more!
"What If Captain Cook Hadn’t Sailed his Third Voyage?"
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Historian David Nicandri draws from his forthcoming book James Cook in the Icy Latitudes: The Origins of Polar Climatology and the Evolution of the Northwest Passage to examine the common refrain that Cook should have remained in retirement, rather than embarking on his ultimately fatal third voyage. Nicandri explores how history would have unfolded had Cook stayed home, and how that decision would have altered popular conceptions of the famous mariner.
"125 Years of Collecting and Connecting"
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Join us as we open our new exhibit celebrating 125 years of the Washington State Historical Society. A panel of museum staff will provide a group gallery talk each discussing his or her favorite artifact.
Can’t get enough March Madness? Visit the History Museum and follow our social media as the artifacts in 125 Years of Collecting and Connecting face off in a bracket-style round-robin tournament where you pick the winner!
"Hands-on Aleut Basket Weaving"
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Aleut weaver Lois Thadei leads a hands-on program on Aleut basket weaving for visitors of all ages. Come and learn about the materials, traditions, and uses over time for woven baskets, and try your hand at weaving with a starter kit you can take with you. WSHS Head of Collections, Lynette Miller, will discuss notable examples from the Historical Society’s extensive basketry collection.
Exhibit Opening: Cutting Edge – Art Quilts of Washington
Saturday, April 16, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Visit the History Museum for a first glimpse of the new exhibit Cutting Edge – Art Quilts of Washington. Check out the beautiful art quilts showcased in the exhibit, try your hand at some fun quilting activities, and tour the exhibit with the artists.
Gallery Talks are your opportunity to meet exhibit curators and learn little-known information about our exhibits or get a behind-the-scenes perspective.
"Braceros in Washington"
Friday, February 5, 2016
Curator Gwen Whiting discusses history of braceros in Washington with artifacts in the Great Hall. Included with museum admission (always free to members).
"Ezra Meeker: The Hop King of Washington"
Friday, March 4, 2016
Join Molly Wilmoth, Outreach Specialist and curator of an upcoming exhibit exploring Washington’s beer history, as she discusses how Ezra Meeker literally wrote the book on hops and set Washington on a course to become the haven for microbreweries and beer culture that it is today. Included with museum admission (always free to members).
"An Insider's History"
Friday, April 1, 2016
Gwen Whiting, assistant curator of 125 Years of Collecting and Connecting, delves into the behind-the-scenes history of the Washington State Historical Society, and the unknown stories behind some of the exhibit's featured artifacts.
"Art Quilts of Washington"
Friday, May 6, 2016
Join Lynette Miller, Head of Collections and curator of Cutting Edge – Art Quilts of Washington, for an in-depth exploration of the exhibit's featured quilts.
"From the Bolt Decision to the Leschi Exoneration"
Friday, June 3, 2016
Learn the extensive history behind Chief Leschi's canoe paddle–one of the notable artifacts on display in 125 Years of Collecting and Connecting–with museum expert Susan Rohrer.
For more information, contact Dave Beals at 253-798-5879 or email@example.com.
“Francis Drake and the Mysterious Voyage” with Les Eldridge
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Just how far north did Francis Drake really go? Did he sail in Puget Sound and up the Inside Passage all the way to Alaska? Did Elizabeth I insist he alter his logs to conceal his Alaskan exploration from the Spanish? Learn the answers to these questions and more as author and historian Les Eldridge peels back the history of Drake’s famous voyage.
“Landscape Design at the Lord Mansion” with Susan Rohrer
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Discover the prestigious history of the landscape design at the Lord Mansion, home of the WSHS State Capital Museum. Manager of the State Capital Museum Susan Rohrer explains the creation of the landscaping and its connection with some of the world’s premier ethnobotanical gardens.
“Remembering Camp Harmony” with Elsie Taniguchi and Cho Shimizu
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Elsie Taniguchi and Cho Shimizu share recollections and stories from their time of incarceration at "Camp Harmony" at the Puyallup Fairgrounds during WWII. The camp, created to house Japanese and Japanese American citizens as they were forcibly relocated from their homes, served as a holding area before the internees were sent to
“Eyes of the Totem Rediscovered” with Lauren Hoogkamer
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Lauren Hoogkamer, Historic Preservation Coordinator for the City of Tacoma, discusses her recent rediscovery of the long-lost silent film, Eyes of the Totem, which was filmed and produced in Tacoma in 1926.
“Beyond the Cutting Edge” with the Contemporary QuiltArt Association
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Members of the Contemporary QuiltArt Association talk about their works on display in the exhibit Cutting Edge – Art Quilts of Washington, and discuss the ever-evolving techniques of contemporary quilting.
These programs are included with admission to the History Museum. Free to WSHS Members. For more information, contact Dave Beals at 253-798-5879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Are Native Oysters Making a Comeback?"
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Faced with extinction in the 1940s from commercial overfishing, native Olympia oysters are making a comeback thanks to the dedicated effort of Washingtonians. University of Washington-Tacoma Associate Professor Dr. Bonnie Becker discusses the oysters’ return and how scientists are tracking their recovery. This program is offered in partnership with UWT. This program has been resheduled from February 18.
"Singing for Tacoma: Mrs. Goheen and the Lincoln High Choirs"
Thursday, April 21, 2016
University of Washington-Tacoma lecturer Kim Davenport explores the history of Lincoln High School's elite choral program of the 1920s–1950s. Guided by Margaret Rawson Goheen, Lincoln High's choirs traveled the nation, sang with Paul Robeson, and won national awards. In her presentation, "Singing for Tacoma: Mrs. Goheen and the Lincoln High Choirs," Davenport will share her research, including artifacts and photographs from Mrs. Goheen's own scrapbooks, to reflect on one of the brightest points in Tacoma's musical history. This program is offered in partnership with UWT.
"The Evolutionary Power of Stories"
Thursday, May 19, 2016
In "The Evolutionary Power of Stories to Comfort, Connect, and Create: Virginia Woolf and Literary Darwinism," UWT lecturer Linda Nicole Blair examines the power of stories to help us survive and thrive as a species through their ability to comfort us, connect us to each other, and make us think creatively about the world in which we live. This program is offered in partnership with UWT.
All Scholarly Selections events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dave Beals at 253-798-5879 or email@example.com.
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.
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.
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!