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

Write253 Pop Up Print Shop at Washington State History Museum  Pop Up Print Shop calendar image

Have you ever seen a hand-operated printing press in action? You can do just that at the Washington State History Museum’s Write253 Pop Up Print Shop on select dates through April 2020. You’ll even get a chance to operate a small press in the shop and make a print to take home.

A printmaker will be on hand in the Write 253 Pop Up Print Shop to facilitate visitors in working a press to make a small free print of their own. The artwork will be set up ahead of time, and different themes will be featured on different pop up dates. 

Next Pop Up dates -  See how the presses operate and make a small print yourself to take home (free)!

  • Third Thursday, January 16, 3:00-8:00 PM during the museum's free Third Thursday hours.
  • January 20, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. 

Limited edition prints will be available for purchase, with proceeds going to support Write253's literacy programs. 

Schedule: Click here for dates, times and details about the Write253 Pop Up Print Shop.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.MLK 2020
Monday, January 20, 2020
10:00 AM-5:00 PM
FREE museum admission

Join us in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African American men who were inspired by King's legacy. 

Admission to the museum and all activities is FREE, Monday, January 20, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

  • Don't miss the Tacoma Arts Live's Civil Rights Tour performances of Get on the Bus, at 1:30 and 3:30 PM. Seating is limited. 
  • Onyx Fine Arts Collective artists will teach about their unique styles and visitors can try their hand at making something of their own, from noon to 3:00 PM. Create something to take home!
  • Explore the exhibition Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truthand learn about dozens of African American men who have changed culture and history in our nation.
  • Printmaking activity in the Write253 Pop Up Print Shop 

Volunteer Orientation and Information Sessionmuseum
Saturday, February 1, 10:30-12:30 AM

Calling all potential volunteers! If you've ever wanted to try volunteering, New Year's is a great time to start. Make 2020 a year of trying new things. Attend an orientation on February 1 from 10:30-12:30 AM and find out about volunteer roles at the Washington State Historical Society. Volunteers get free parking at the History Museum, public relations experience, and much more.
The museum's Men of Change exhibition has openings for teen and adult volunteers - get your exclusive Men of Change t-shirt! 
Contact Volunteer Coordinator Susan Hesselgrave for more information.

History Pub at McMenamins Elks TempleDr Duadi Abe
Spanish Ballroom
"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Principal's Office?" with Dr. Daudi Abe
Tuesday, February 4, doors at 5:30, program at 7:00 PM
FREE, all ages welcome

Beginning as early as preschool, Black students are disproportionately suspended and expelled from school. As many of these students reach adulthood, these punishments can lead to legal trouble, creating what some call the “school-to-prison pipeline” that affects many Black communities.
Why are Black students punished more than others in the classroom? Based on his extensive research and teaching experience, Dr. Daudi Abe demonstrates that the racial achievement gap cannot be solved without first addressing the discipline gap. 
In communities across the state, crucial questions must be faced: What is the difference between subjective and objective forms of discipline? What is “academic self-esteem” and “Cool Pose?” And in a state where 90% of teachers are white and the student body is only 56% white, would a more diverse teaching staff help? Does the discipline gap affect other communities of color? And what solutions can we can learn to help ALL students succeed?
Explore how all of us—citizens, educators, law enforcement, and others—can close the gap.
Food and beverages available for purchase

Latinx Labor and Immigrant RightsDavid Bacon IWF calendar
Panel Discussion and Gallery Talk for In Washington’s Fields
February 11, 5:30–8:00 PM
Included with the cost of admission
FREE for members

The Fight in the Fields: Migrant Workers Fight for Their Rights in Washington State
The living and working conditions of farm workers today, and their efforts to organize to change them, are the subject of the photographs in the new exhibition, In Washington's Fields. See the brilliant work of photo-journalist and former farm worker organizer David Bacon. His images tell the workers' story of struggle and hope. Bacon has also written numerous books on this subject and is an excellent story teller and analyst. 
Michael Honey, Haley Professor of Humanities at University of Washington Tacoma, will facilitate a panel dialogue with David Bacon, Community2Community director Rosalinda Guillen, and Ramon Torres, president of the new farm workers union Familias Unidas por la Justicia. UWT Associate Professor Vanessa deVeritch Woodside, will also comment. 
Bacon will lead a gallery tour following the panel discussion.
Image: living 6, David Bacon, photographic print, 2015. YAKIMA-2015-The hands of Manuel Ortiz show a life of work. Ortiz came to the US from Mexico as a bracero in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and spent decades as a farm worker in California and Washington.

History After Hours: Shipwrecks!History After Hours Shipwrecks calendar 
Thursday, February 13, 7:00-10:00 PM
Members $20, non-members in advance $25 or $30 at the door

Ahoy! Do all things lost at sea pique your interest? Hear dramatic shipwreck stories and learn about searches, recoveries and discoveries in the Pacific Northwest. Explore the exhibition Unforgiving Waters: Shipwrecks of the Pacific Northwest. Hear tales presented by organizations from the maritime community.  Games, activities and beverages aplenty. 

Buy your tickets here for Shipwrecks! today - or, be a thrifty sailor and save money by purchasing a History After Hours Season Package including tickets to all four of the special evening events for 2020 at a discount! Season packages make great gifts, too.

Get details about our 2020 History After Hours season here.


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