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Exhibits

Purchase TicketsBook a Field TripBecome a memberTelling the story of Washington's history includes highlighting the characters and events that have affected the growth of our area. From the tale of women's suffrage to the mystery of D.B. Cooper, the Washington State History Museum provides in-depth exhibitions full of artifacts, ephemera, stories, and images that enrich your visitor experience.

Steins, Vines & Grinds: Washington's Story of Beer, Wine & Coffee
January 21 - April 23

SVG exhibit banner

Steins, Vines & Grinds explores the history of three libations that continue to be wildly popular in the Evergreen State. Discover how the passion of beverage industry leaders connected with the unique climate and geography of our state to place Washington at the forefront of the industry.  Glimpse a rare “Wild Rainier,” compare coffee grinders over the decades, and ogle a Reed’s IPA bottle excavated from Fort Vancouver.
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Filled with Grace - Japanese Americans in the South Sound
February 4 - May 21FWG exhibit banner

Filled with Grace focuses on the lives of the Japanese American community prior to World War II. The Japanese community first set down roots in Washington State during the 1890s. Early immigrants took low paying jobs in railroads, sawmills, salmon canneries, farms and as domestic laborers. Within a few decades, however, these Washingtonians had become a vital part of our state with contributions to both culture and commerce. 
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A Revolution You Can Dance To: Indie Music in the Northwest
September 10 (2016) - April 10SVG exhibit banner

The Washington State Historical Society’s exhibit at the museum, A Revolution You Can Dance To: Indie Music in the Northwest, examines how music, art and politics from bands creating music and performing in Olympia spread their influence statewide, regionally and then across the country. This glimpse into a local music scene shows how anyone from any region can have a striking impact on art and history. 
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Permanent Exhibits

Washington History

Our largest exhibit at the Washington State History Museum is a walk through time. This year-round space showcases some of our earliest history with the Clovis Points and a variety of artifacts from Native American civilization and culture, and explains the progression through statehood including industrialization, the war and post-war eras, women's suffrage, and more. Allow at least two hours to fully absorb the material in the Great Hall of Washington History.
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History Lab

The History Lab Learning Center engages visitors with interactive exhibits featuring historical concepts such as Time, Place, Viewpoint, Exploration, and Precedent. In the learning center, visitors of all ages are encouraged to use the Tools of the History Trade (artifacts, ephemera, books and periodicals, people, maps, and images) to think like detectives in search of evidence. The History Lab exhibit is on the fifth floor of the History Museum.

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Model Railroad

Don your conductor's cap and climb aboard the History Museum's own model  railroad. Watch history being made as the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers club continues construction on the 1,800-square-foot permanent layout depicting the rail lines from Tacoma's Point Defiance Park to the Stampede Pass tunnel in the Cascades. Join us when we celebrate model trains with our annual Model Train Festival.

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