Annual Community Events

Engaging with our community is an important part of connecting people with the history of Washington state. So that we can better serve our community, we host several special events throughout the year. These include honoring our service men and women through Veterans Day as well as honoring the work of an American icon on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Our largest events are the IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts Market & Festival, and our annual Model Train Festival. All of our events, in combination with the wide variety of other public programs we provide during the year, invite the community to enjoy and learn more about Washington.

Model Train Festival

Dec. 21, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019*

History and holiday magic unite at the Washington State History Museum during the 23rd Annual Model Train Festival. This museum-wide event for families, railroad buffs and model train enthusiasts showcases the most spectacular and detailed model railroad scenes in the Pacific Northwest – including the largest permanent model train layout in Washington. Take your picture with Santa during his visit, too. 

Model Train Festival is sponsored by the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities.

*Closed December 24 & 25
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In The Spirit

August 11, 2018

Join us for this lively celebration of diverse Northwest Native American cultures. The festival features a vibrant arts market, dance, drumming, flute, carving demonstrations, art-making opportunities, story telling, a Native designer runway fashion show, food, and more! Jointly hosted by WSHM and Tacoma Art Museum. More at

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